Post date: Jan 27, 2011 2:15:46 AM

Dodecitina 20, 1000 PC

The heroes, having entered The Smoking Pipe, hear the sad news about its owner. During the conversation with Tun, they hear that the cellar is open to the sewers again and begin their search there for the missing ring.

Celesta ethereally jaunts to search from and extraplanar perspective while the others scour the material confines for the ring. Celesta returns suddenly with news that a terrible monster in the form of a vast putrid angel has interrupted her and that the creature now floats nearby over the river.

The sounds of retreat draw the group's attention to the tavern and they investigate.  The stench of death is strong and they resolve to face the thing that is sweeping through the city killing.

The group exits the tavern to be confronted by an angel of decay, which were it not for Wintersky's requesting a miracle may well have cost everyone their lives. Protected from the worst of the undead creature's depredations, the group quickly puts it to rest.

The battle won, Celesta announces that she did, in fact, discover a ring below the floor of the cellar. With Dale's help in elemental form, the ring is recovered and discovered to be none other that The Elder Ring of Castigon, the third of the Sajenese rings being hunted for by Ozimius and Aris.

The discovery attracts Zenda's attention and she appears in their midst despite all the wards raised by Celesta to discuss the ring in utmost privacy. The ancient ghost relinquishes the material ring to Sparta's care, who now has to figure out what to do with it, possibly having to draw lost information about its disposition from Manitowoc...if he can only remember.

Tun Arenson looks down, "He didn't make it, I'm afraid. Got caught between the square and here when everything went down."

Sparta: I'm sorry to hear that. He was a good man. One of the few in this damned city.

Sparta looks down and shuffles his bare feet.

Tun Arenson nods.

Wintersky: So sorry to hear that.

Tun Arenson: I almost didn't make it myself; hid in the sewers for days before Ozi found me and got me back here. Mom was a wreck.

Wintersky: Ozi rescued you?

Tun Arenson: In a way. He released Nana Zenda into the square.

Wintersky: How?

Tun Arenson: He was trying to get into The Smoking Pipe from the sewers and was working with someone to see if Zenda's ghost could chase things off, seeing she is so old. Don't know who the someone was, though.

Wintersky scratches SnowShadow thoughtfully.

Tun Arenson: We broke through a weak bricked up section in the basement to get in and then Ozi brought Nana's dulcimer to the square.

Tun Arenson: She's been there ever since...haven't seen hide nor hair of Ozi since either.

Sparta: The sewers? You can still get into the cellars from the sewer? Nana Zenda fell to orcs who broke into the cellar from the sewers.

Tun Arenson: Only since we broke back in. There is a huge crate of old scap metal blocking the hole right now.

Nyza approaches Mexkir and the gathered kobolds. Before speaking, she nods in deference to the statue of Kurtulmak.

Sparta: Celesta, can you do that trick again in the cellar?

Nyza: And a most welcome sight it is, Mexkir. I had faith in your abilities, of course, but I was worried that a demonic invasion might be too much for even you to stave off.

Celesta: Which trick would that be, Sparta?

Mexkir smiles, "Our faith keeps us strong."

Sparta: Like you did in the graveyard, to search for Nana's ring?

T'Krosh: Your disintegration-beam spell might be appropriate too.

Celesta: Oh, sure. If it is tethered to your Nana, it will stand out on the Ethereal Plane.

Wintersky: Tun, do you know if there was a ring in the dulcimer?

Celesta smirks, "We do not want to destroy the ring if it is still in the basement, T'Krosh."

Tun Arenson: Not that I am aware of. It's been here for centuries.

Dale: Nor the foundations either.

Wintersky: Zenda would pick it up. Did others?

Tun Arenson: Maybe? We never did, not for generations.

Wintersky looks about for the Spirit of Tuk, "Is he still here?"

Wintersky sees no sign of Tuk's spirit.

Sparta: Tun, can you point us to the cellar, then we should let you get back to your other guests.

Tun Arenson: Sure.

Nyza: There are so many things that have happened since we last met. So many achievements and so many deaths, as well. But let me start with the most apparent change. Nyza holds up her own, flaming tail.

Tun leads the group back through the kitchen and to some stairs. They are narrow and steep with a rickety door at the bottom.

Wintersky: You and your mother are holding things together well here. You are doing a good job.

Tun Arenson: Thank you, Wintersky.

Wintersky squeezes the lads shoulder.

Mexkir: It is a magnificent change. You have become your name.

Wintersky: Off you go.

Tun Arenson smiles and returns to his duties.

Sparta takes a deep breath and descends the stairs to the door at the bottom.

Wintersky follows.

Sparta listens at the door for a moment

It is as quiet as a tomb beyond the door.

Sparta opens the door.

Nyza chuckles, "Flattery! It was the result of search for power, to act fully as your Mae'Krix. And it was not without drawbacks." Nyza thinks sadly to the egg resting in Bektul's care; not her own!

The stairs open into a large cellar lined with racks, shelves and crates, though most are empty. On the wall opposite the door is a large crate with rusty metal heaped in it.

Sparta enters the room and looks about.

Sparta: The larder is bare.

Nyza: But I am the same 'Nyza' as before, yes? So that is that.

Celesta: Nothing has come into the city in weeks.

Wintersky looks about the room.

Sparta: Well, if we can make it through the next week, maybe Tangleton can help resupply the city.

Mexkir: The same origin, but now far different...a true leader.

Celesta: Or Honor Shipping.

Sparta: Yup, it'll take many hands.

Celesta walks over to the large crate.

T'Krosh: As soon as possible would be best.

T'Krosh: I do not know if the warband from the Obulus will have brought their own provisions or if they intend to scavenge.

Sparta: Legend has it, that the orcs burst through that wall and Nana was all that stood between them and The Smoking Pipe.

Sparta: She fell to their blades, just as her Grandson Hurley came with reinforcements.

Wintersky: We best search then.

Sparta: There may not be much chance of her ring still being here after so much time has passed, but I don't know where else it might be.

Celesta: I guess another jaunt is in order then.

Sparta: We'll do what we can from here.

Celesta casts Ethereal Jaunt and become incorporeal once again. She moves into the crate and disappears.

Sparta begins searching the rest of the cellar.

Sparta's ranger senses notice a discoloration on the floor near and under the crate.

Wintersky carefully checks nooks and crannies.

Sparta kneels before the crate and touches the stain.

Sparta: This looks like blood, I wonder if this is where she fell?

Celesta suddenly streaks from the floor in the middle of the cellar and becomes solid again, terror in her eyes.

Nyza "hmms" in agreement, wanting to sound at least somewhat modest, "You mentioned before that your numbers have grown. Refugees, perhaps?"

Wintersky: After a thousand years?

Wintersky: Celesta what is it?

T'Krosh grasps his spear, ready for trouble.

Celesta: We have very big problems...outside.

Dale: Outside? In the sewers?

Wintersky: A few details, please.

Celesta: From the Ethereal Plane it looked like a great angel of death out over the river.

Sounds of people rushing into The Smoking Pipe from outside can be heard from up the stairs.

Wintersky heads up the stairs.

Wintersky finds the place quite crowded as she is about the leave the kitchen. There is a distinct smell of death in the air.

Sparta and Dale follow the Teton Shaman upstairs.

Celesta duplicates herself with a Mirror Image spell and then follows.

T'Krosh follows cautiously, wondering why he would want to confront an "angel of death."

Sparta: Grandpa, do you know anything about angels?

Manitowoc: They are usually good...except the death ones.

Sparta: I was afarid you were going to say something like that.

Wintersky: I think it is an angel of decay.

Sparta: Maybe he was attracted to all the decadence in the city.

Celesta: Death, Sparta, death.

Mexkir: Not refugees, just others who have found us.

Nyza takes a few minutes to describe the recent history, in case any of Mexkir's augurations were incomplete. She details the encounter with Kurtulmak and T'Krosh's subsequent resurrection and redemption, the battle at Tangleton, and the current status of Troll's Bridge.

T'Krosh casts Freedom of Movement, Spell Resistance, and Visage of the Diety on himself.

T'Krosh: Best be prepared if it is really an angel out there.

Sparta: Especially if it isn't a friendly angel.

Sparta casts Long Strider and Barkskin on himself and Ringo

Dale casts Mass Owl's Wisdom on the heroes and extends it to ten more of the city folk in the tavern, especially Tun.

T'Krosh: Eh...in either case.

Dale casts Longstrider and Barkskin on herself and Ferocious.

Dale: Do you think we're going to have to battle it?

Troll's Bridger: I hope someone can battle it. It is sweeping through the city spreading death.

Wintersky casts and shares Stoneskin, Life's Grace, Divine Agility, Divine power, and Divine Favor.

Dale casts Stoneskin on Sparta and Ringo.

Celesta: I will see you out there. Maybe I can distract it while you exit this place.

Nyza: "... and now, after piercing the barrier, I have come back with the other Heroes of Redemption to secure Troll's Bridge. Wybak, too, is leading an army here against the demons."

Sparta casts Bear's Endurance on himself and shares with Ringo.

Mexkir: Wybak? Is he helping or taking advantage of the situation?

Elenia casts Displacement, Protection from Evil, and Greater Heroism on herself.

Sparta: Are we ready?

Celesta casts Greater Teleport and disappears from the tavern with a pop.

Sparta moves through the gathering crowd to the round door of the tavern.

Nyza: "Wybak is shrewd enough to take advantage, I think. T'Krosh suggested that the Obulus lacked the strength to attack the humans, but perhaps Wybak simply seeks a better bargaining position. If so, his advantage is our advantage."

The stench of death becomes very strong as Sparta approaches the door and putrid slime seems to be seeping in.

Mexkir nods.

Sparta shouts, "Stand back everyone, we're going out!"

Sparta steels himself and opens the door to dash up the stairs to street level.

As the door swings, a putrifying corpse flops into the tavern, nauseating those nearby.

The way up to the street is lined with putrifying corpses and the stench is overwhelming even for the heroes.

Manitowoc: Celesta says back away from the door. She is going to clear the path.

Sparta groans and backs up, tell her to hurry.

Sparta looks like he's about to lose what little breakfast he ate early this morning.

Elenia vomits.

Nyza hesitates before continuing. "But I will greet him, to be sure of his intentions. Keep below, and to your defenses, until the city is finally secure."

Elenia: Do we have to go out there?

T'Krosh clutches at his stomach and then to his shoulders, oddly enough.

Elenia is white faced as she wipes her mouth on her sleeve.

A great woosh of fire descends down to the door and only just misses Sparta as he backs away. The corpses lining the passage to the street are now charred, smelling comparatively nice compared to what they did.

Dale casts Purify Food and Drink to try to help those huddled in the tavern.

Wintersky looks grim.

Spirits writhe in the passage way to the street as Wintersky looks through the doorway.

Sparta tries to climb the stairs, a little more hesitantly.

Wintersky: I will help you, but I must take care of the living first.

Wintersky climbs the stairs.

Sparta exits the tavern to see a putrid humanoid form floating above the river, dripping slime and bits of flesh.

Dale follows behind after finishing her purify spell.

Wintersky: It is undead.

Sparta: Eh, could use that flaming kobold right about now.

The vile monster floats menacingly toward Celesta who also flies above the river.

Celesta casts Assay Spell Resistance quickly followed by the grayish ray of a Disintegrate spell.

Celesta flies to the cover of a tree since the monster has nearly closed with her.

Sparta steps out of the doorway and unleashes a volley of arrows at the angel.

Sparta: Hey stinky, leave this city alone. They have suffered enough.

Dale climbs up next to Sparta and casts Resistance on him, before taking her mammoth form.

Dale: I wonder if Finger of Death will work on the undead?

Wintersky: Oh Holy Spirits, I beseech you. Help turn the tide of this battle and protect my allies with Life's Grace.

T'Krosh moves outside and aims a spell at the horrible divinity. However, as soon as he starts casting, he screams out in pain and falls to the ground.

Elenia casts Dismissal.

The spell seems to function, but then there is nowhere for the being to be drawn back to.

The annoyed monster turns towards it attackers.

It sipes at Sparta with a putrified claw and tears a vicious wound.

Sparta: Grandpa, I could use the Protection from Evil thing you can do.

Manitowoc: Already raised, sonny."

Celesta raises Mage Armor in preparation for her next move.

Sparta drops his bow, draws his sword as he steps up and swings it at the angel of decay.

Sparta: You're not listening, I told you to go back to whatever hell hole you crawled out of

It chuckles.

Dale the Mammoth summons a fire storm upon the ghastly beast.

The fire washes over the being without effect.

Dale the Mammoth steps back a little.

Wintersky fires Blessed Black.

The thing slashes Wintersky as she fires.

T'Krosh, now on all fours, cries out again in agony. Blood can be seen trickling down the shoulder holes of his breastplate.

T'Krosh lets out one last scream when, suddenly, a set of leathery bat wings spring forcefully out alongside his arms.

Sparta double takes at T'krosh's wings.

T'Krosh somehow manages to stand up and focuses on resisting what must be some kind of attack. He doesn't quite seem to recognize the new appendages yet. With all his concentration, he steps closer to the divinity and casts a Heal spell on it.

The undead cringes and shutters at the kobold's touch, flesh falling to the ground.

Elenia casts Disintergrate.

Elenia: Take that!

The beast steps to the side before unleashing a flurry of attacks.

Putrid slime speads from where the thing has now landed and is flung about as it slashes its claws and wings at the group.

Elenia: Celesta kill it.

Celesta flies from her concealment and lets loose a cone of rainbow colors.

A red beam strikes the creature and scorches it.

Elenia: Nice.

Sparta unleashes his own flurry of attacks, though not as effectively as the angel's.

Dale casts Mass Cure Critical Wounds on the party and the undead angel.

The healing blast helps Dale's friends and causes the undead to drop more flesh from its putrid bones.

Wintersky: Using the talisman of undead mastery and phylackery of undead turning, "Turn you foul creature."

T'Krosh casts another Heal spell, harming the creature before it turns to escape the shaman's wrath.

T'Krosh: To dust with you!

The creature shrieks in agony.

Elenia casts Disintegrate again.

Elenia blow another hole in the thing, but is remains intact.

The creature's legs go out from under it with Sparta's swing and the thing tumbles over the edge of the gorge and into the river below.

Sparta: Why don't these things ever listen to us?

Celesta flies in.

Celesta: Because undead cannot be reasoned with.

Elenia: Just what we need. That in the water supply.

Dale: Too bad I cast my only purify spell inside the tavern.

Celesta: It is already polluted...something to be dealt with once order is restored.

Wintersky: That was a nasty fight.

Celesta: And smelly. I will not be able to get this smell out of my nose for a month.

Celesta shudders.

Dale: And you don't have a trunk.

Celesta laughs.

Dale resumes her halfling shape.

Celesta: Ah, are those wings, T'Krosh?

T'Krosh removes his breastplate and allows the wings to spread out more freely.

Sparta: Thankfully your miracle protected us from it's worst, Miss 'Sky.

T'Krosh: It would appear I have regained Kurtulmak's favor, Celesta.

Celesta: You need the same armor adjustment as Luanes did.

Wintersky: I hate asking for miracles on the fly. I feels wrong somehow.

Celesta looks at the small breastplate and adjusts the straps.

Celesta: That should help.

T'Krosh looks awkwardly at the adjusted armor.

T'Krosh: I think I'll, er...go without the armor until I get used to these.

T'Krosh shrugs his shoulders, and the wings flap haphazardly.

Wintersky: I am not sure if wings are rewards or to teach humility.

Celesta: Oh! The ring!

Sparta: The ring? Did you find it?!

Celesta: It is in the floor under that crate full of metal. It may take some digging.

Dale: Digging? That can be accomplished.

Dale: If you can direct me, I can take on the shape of an earth elemental.

Celesta: We will not even need to move the crate then.

Celesta: I will show you, Dale.

Sparta breaks out in a grin.

Wintersky: You could wall the hole while you are at it.

Sparta: What are we waiting for then?

Celesta leads the way back into The Smoking Pipe.

Wintersky: If Tun and his mother want it closed.

As the group enters, the patrons and refugees look surprised that the group has returned.

Tun Arenson begins clapping and the rest of the place explodes in cheers.

Dale: I'd be happy to, but Wall of Stone might be more permanent.

Celesta (whispering): Do they not know who we are?

Celesta smirks.

Sparta bows low to the applause.

Celesta: Ham.

Celesta makes her way to the kitchen and down into the cellar.

Sparta: Ham, hmm, that sounds good. Do you have any?

Celesta rolls her eyes.

Sparta: Maybe we can order some in from Rebelton.

Wintersky slips away to take care of the tortured spirits she saw upon leaving the tavern.

Wintersky: Let me soothe your souls, ease your suffering and send you to the beyond.

Dale: T'krosh, do you now the spell Create Food and Water? The city could use sustenance sooner than Sparta's ham can get here from Rebelton.

T'Krosh: That is not within my power.

T'Krosh: However...

T'Krosh withdraws the Field Provisions Box from his backpack.

T'Krosh: Enough for 15 people per day, anyway.

Celesta: Or eight halflings. Dale, you coming?

Dale: That's a start, we halflings can tighten our belt for a day. Coming, Celesta.

Celesta and Dale return to the cellar and Celesta directs Dale to the ring, which is retrieved.

T'Krosh: Hard to believe that something so small can save the whole city.

The ring is very large and wrought of platinum with a large, flat diamond magnifying a sigil.

Sparta examines the ring.

Sparta: Grandpa, is this her ring? Do you know what the sigil means?

Celesta catches a glimpse of the sigil, gasps and puts a hand to her mouth.

Manitowoc: Sure, that's the ring.

Sparta: What is it, Celesta?

Celesta begins putting up wards around the cellar.

Celesta: You know the ring that Ozi wears, The Elder Ring of Khan?

Sparta: Yes, weren't there others too?

Sparta: Wait, you think this is another one of their rings?

Celesta: He also has The Elder Ring of Sphinx.

Celesta: That is The Elder Ring of Castigon.

Celesta: The one Aris has been looking for.

Dale: Um, what happens if Aris or Ozi get this ring?

Celesta: Scary things.

Sparta: Your wards, will they protect us from scrying?

Celesta: And almost anything else.

Sparta: It's doubtful the Sajenese know what we've found down here.

T'Krosh: Not yet. We will have to keep this a secret. The Sajenese will hear of it if we even whisper.

Sparta: They probably don't know Nana had their ring in Walton, or there's no way she could have kept it from them.

Celesta: Ozi walked right over it and did not even know it.

A chill fills the room suddenly and a halfling-sized bard of a ghost appears in the group's midst.

Sparta: Nana?

Zenda: What, pray tell, are you doing with my ring?

Sparta: Hello, Nana.

Sparta: We rescued it.

Zenda: It didn't need rescuing.

Sparta: It was buried, lost beneath the floor.

Celesta has gone ghostly pale herself.

Zenda: Lost, you say?

Sparta: Nana, please don't be upset. We were only trying to help.

Sparta: I thought you might like to have your ring back after all these years.

Zenda gives Sparta a stern look, "I have had it all along."

Sparta looks sheepish.

Sparta: Then you won't be needing this one.

Sparta: He puts the ring in his pocket.

Zenda: Now that the cat's out of the bag, what are you going to do with it. The Sajense thought they were close and they were.

Sparta: You knew it was Sajenese?

Zenda nods.

Sparta: Celesta thinks it would be bad if they get it back.

Zenda: If the wrong person gets it back.

Sparta: I think this is a family heirloom, lost for a millennium. It belongs in the Mantyson's Clan now.

Zenda: I wasn't meant to keep it this long.

Sparta: No? What should have happened?

Zenda: The one who should have claimed it died in the Fall of Walton.

Sparta: Aris is a Sajenese who claims lineage to the Castigon Clan.

Sparta: Was your claimant from Aris' clan?

Zenda: It wasn't to be claimed by a Castigon. Only my love had any idea who it was supposed to go to.

Manitowoc: What?

Sparta: Grandpa, you knew?

Manitowoc: I don't remember.

Zenda: Of course that doesn't remember.

Sparta: Well, this is no good. Nana, we are going to need time to think our way out of this pickle.

Sparta: May I keep the ring while we decide what to do?

Zenda: Yes, you are and yes, you may.

The Elder Ring of Castigon