Codex VI-Chapter 10

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Sanjin turned the wand he had acquired from Gulnith over and over in his fingers yet again. The dragon disciple sorceress remained tied to a tree, knocked out yet again (Greygook was brokering no chances she could free herself, barely allowing her time to eat to keep her strength up).

The Bringers of Light, including Kivessin and their sorceress officer, Sionia, were off to the side, all sleeping (meditating, in Sionia’s case) near the fire along with the former Lancel coven prisoners, who mostly remained on the ship, only coming down for warmth during the cold nights. Feral remained apart, even sleeping on the ship, clearly unsure of herself in this mixed company without Khaska. She and Sionia had arrived three days ago, and Sanjin expected Rynn and the others to arrive yesterday, but they had not. With his lowlight vision, Sanjin could see even during this period of true night, but he hoped the others would soon join them. He didn’t like the idea of pushing on with his research into the voidgates and other things on his own. He especially didn’t like the idea that somehow they had been unable to escape from Darkcrest, victims to some unforeseen, possibly fatal, circumstance.

As sunset twilight came upon them, Sionia rose from her meditation and joined the wizard on watch.

“You are concerned for your friends?”

“I am. I would hope they would have been here by now. I fear the worst.”

“Your friends seem more than capable, and I know my Bringers can give a good accounting of themselves should it become necessary. I am sure they will be here soon.”

And she was right. About an hour after sunset twilight, Sanjin’s sharp eyes caught the distant figures of Rynn, Khaska, Orensland, and the two Bringers approaching from the west. They joined the others at the camp and reported back, finally able to tell their tale of what happened as they left Darkcrest. Everybody was very happy to hear that Lady Drakh had met her end, and the Bringers as a whole were very happy to hear of Khaska’s “epic” moment after finishing her off. Sionia used the sending stone to report the results back to Garth Calad, and received a positive reply back.

Then the conversation turned towards what should happen next.

Lord Titanius has invited you to come to Garth Calad,” Sionia said. “He would like a more full accounting of the events, and I and my soldiers are to return to Darkcrest to continue our work in the city once things have died down. I hope Fynn is okay without our support.”

“I still feel that we should return the baroness’ armor to her hometown of Cyriest,” Khaska said. “I don’t know that it’s immediately pressing, but that’s possible.” He was also thinking of the quest to find the Storm Giant given him by the centaur seeress, but that could wait until everybody was situated.

“What is going to happen to us?” asked one of the former prisoners. “Will you just abandon us here on the Death Side?”

“There’s not enough room on the ship for all of us,” Greygook said. “We’re going to have to split up somehow. Though maybe I could shuttle groups back and forth to Ethir Port or somewhere, and we could take our leave of each other then. My ship is at your service.” He looked at Sanjin. “Mister Sanjin and I have had interesting conversations about the things you have discovered, but perhaps that’s a conversation for after we make sure everybody is taken care of.”

“We certainly have the money that we could outfit everybody at Ethir Port. Make sure folks have equipment and armor and passage home, wherever that is,” said Orensland. Even with just the one bag of holding they had kept, their available cash reserves were more than adequate.

“What do you wish, Feral?” asked Khaska.

The Maha’i woman demurred for a moment. “You have spoken of the lands where our people dwell,” she said. “I have interest in visiting them. Though, the invitation to visit Lord Titanius is also intriguing. The Bringers seem to be good people, helping those less fortunate than others.”

“It seems you all have a decision to make,” Sionia said. “My Bringers and I will return to Darkcrest. Most of the prisoners would like to head to Ethir Port and from thence to wherever they wish. What you do after that is a matter for you all to decide.”

The party then retreated off to the side to have their private conversation. Greygook joined them.

“If we just headed to the other voidgate,” Sanjin said, “the one near the Wastes on the living side, we could explore the entire system much more easily than using the one in the library of the former Maramos coven back in Darkcrest.”

“That’s my vote,” Greygook said.

“Honestly,” Rynn said, glancing over at Gulnith, “after we question her, I’m pretty sure I’ll want to head into the Zyrbryxion Marshes.”

“The Marshes! Are you crazy?” the gnome asked. He folded his arms. “Don’t expect me to fly you there. I ain’t suicidal. If you want to fly yourself there, you’d have to buy your own ship.”

Orensland piped up. “If you taught us how to fly yours, would you be willing to sell it?”

The gnome looked at him sideways. “Perhaps. Even if we go our separate ways, I expect to be well compensated for whatever profit we all get from the voidgates. That was our main motivation for studying them—to be renowned and receive all the benefits from being the discoverers of such an ancient and useful part of our moon’s history.”

“It seems we should at least have Greygook take the people we have rescued from Lady Drakh’s dungeons to Port Ethir. We can easily pay for their transport to a destination of their choosing with the money we have acquired,” said Khaska. “I am also keen to perhaps visit Mount Elduin. Eranaois said a seer there could help me know more of my future.”

“I bet all of us could benefit from that kind of insight,” Orensland said.

“That’s all well and good,” Rynn said, “but the voidgate system will still be there in the future. Baroness Moretti will still be dead. My wife and …” he choked up a little, “… child may be enslaved by the Cult of Skyrnyn in the Marshes right now.”

“There are indications there is a voidgate in the Marshes,” said Khaska. “Perhaps exploring the voidgate system could be an easier way to get into the Marshes than by walking or even flying.”

“Well,” Orensland said, “cracking his knuckles. I think we first need to ask some questions of our friend over there. Do we want to ask questions, or do we want our Bringer friends to ask the questions? Or do you want to take a walk, Khaska?”

The cleric didn’t like the implications of any of those questions. But it was true that finding out what Gulnith knew was of paramount importance to their next steps, whatever those may be.

Eryx (DM)
Gulnith had a +2 Wand of the War Mage on her, made from dragonbone. Congratulations, Sanjin. (Again, 5E rules.)

So basically, there are two questions here.

First, how mean do you want to be to Gulnith when interrogating her? The Bringers would be pretty mean, and would then kill her, per their previous statements.

Second … where are y’all going to head after this? As I see it, here are the options, some of which aren’t entirely mutually exclusive:

1. Garth Calad. You’ve been invited by Lord Titanius to join them there. You know that the Bringers are pretty unforgiving as an organization, but you’ve certainly earned their trust on some level by your actions in Darkcrest.
2. Ethir Port. Could pay for all the prisoners to be outfitted with equipment and journey home.
3. Marshes. Follow the trail of Rynn’s family. Greygook won't sail you there, but he is open to selling you his ship, however. For a steep price.
4. Cyriest. Return the baroness’ armor. See if it can shed light on the origins the armor found in Lady Drakh’s crypt.
5. Maha’i lands. Feral has expressed interest in returning to her homelands. She has a secondary preference for Garth Calad—the Bringers intrigue her as an organization. She would not mind being put on a ship headed to the Maha’i lands. Khaska could certainly write a note of introduction to her clan, to perhaps Simtor (the elderly Maha’i cleric Khaska befriended in Laishtek), or to some other group he felt appropriate.
6. The voidgate near the Niktean Wastes. Could allow you to explore the voidgate system with relative ease, as opposed to the one in the basement of the Maramos coven house.
7. Mount Elduin. The seer awaits?

Crosis
It seems to me that our main focuses are on the story arcs of Khaska and Rynn. Khaska in trying to free the soul of Tawru, and Rynn trying to save (or at least find out what happened to) his wife and child. Both are fairly urgent, and our decisions may be based on what we get out of Gulnith, but some thoughts on what Orensland thinks the best way forward may be:

1. This will depend heavily on what we get out of Gulnith, but it seems our best way into the marshes may be through the voidgates. Literally just appear across enemy lines as opposed to sneaking in from a likely reinforced outside. In light of that, it may be best if we wait until we start exploring voidgates before trying to venture into the Citadel. If it turns out there is no voidgate there, at least we have the Darkcrest voidgate and can attempt infiltration.
2. In light of that, Orensland would vote that we have Greygook drop us off at Mount Elduin. We can get some cosmic insight into our futures, including possibly helping Rynn/Khaska with their quests. While we seek and speak to the seer, Greygook can drop off the prisoners with some financial aid from our bag of holding at Ethir Port. Greygook likely wants to stick to the party, since we intend to finish his brother's research before long. After the seer (and presuming we don't get sent across the continent on an errand from that visit), we could make our way back to the living side and knock out several other tasks. That includes dropping Feral off at the Maha'i lands, visiting Cyriest, and exploring the Niktean Waste voidgate (thereby looking for a way into the marshes and finishing the gnome's research).
3. Perhaps we could stop by Garth Calad later if we find a voidgate near there––– however, it seems to not be terribly high on our priority list, and may distract us from some of our overarching goals.
4. I talked about finding a crystal ball when we first arrived in Darkcrest, but I think we should double down on getting one now that we know about voidgates. Exploring voidgates is a dangerous endeavor because we don't know who may or may not be on the other side of any given voidgate. Technically using voidgates even after we know where they lead would still be dangerous for the same reason. However, if we get a crystal ball, we could check if anyone is outside of a voidgate entrance before we open it provided we have seen the other side at least once before. So exploring the voidgates will be inherently dangerous, but with something like a crystal ball each attempt afterwards doesn't need to be risky.

As for interrogation Gulnith… I vote we start nice and get mean. Orensland could perhaps try to convince her he is still a member of the Cult and is trying to convince his friends to let her go. They have "promised" that they will if she answers a few questions about Rynn's family.

Provided lying and being nice doesn't work, I guess the mean way is the best way. Any thoughts? If the party is an agreeement I'll make my roll checks. With 5e rolls, I presume? We're kind of between worlds right now.

Eryx (DM)
3.5 edition rules until the end of the Codex.

BlackWolf
Friends, the time has come for me to share some disappointing news: I plan to leave the campaign.

As you've no doubt noticed, my posting has grown erratic and usually late. My life circumstances have changed over the (nearly) 8 years we've been playing, and it's gotten to the point where I feel that leaving is best. My style of play is such that I have to engage and that takes time which is hard for me to dedicate. I can't bring myself to play in an "audience" style where my posts are quick. Also, I'm not as excited to play each post like I once was, and I don't want to devolve to the point of resenting a new post.

I chatted with our esteemed DM about this the other day, so he knew this was coming. I wanted to share the news with you all myself. It's bittersweet to leave, and though part of me wants to stay, none of my options seem viable at this point. Perhaps at some future point things will change again.

However! I am committed to playing out Rynn until we get to a satisfying character arc conclusion for him, including converting him to 5e. I am not just mic-dropping here; I will continue to play until the opportune moment.

Therefore, I am really interested in what you all want as players, and what your characters want to do going forward. Rynn is determined now to find his family. Before we met Jared in Chapter 6, Rynn didn't know whether Juliet was alive or dead, so he could justify himself in adventuring and helping other — especially the group. But now he knows she survived and may have had his child. He can't let go of that. They were not in Darkcrest, and staying there gave him a chance to possibly learn more from the cult. So now he's very interested in what Gulnith could tell us.

Since flying to the marshes is apparently out, and walking is said to be certain death, Rynn will be most interested in using the voidgates to get there. But if this doesn't match up with what you all want, I'd rather find a point where Rynn can go off on his own (even if it means walking to the marshes or getting himself enslaved by the cult) than drag you into a storyline that you aren't interested in.

As for Gulnith, I think it's wise to have Orensland speak with her alone at first, just in case she believes he's a real cultist and speaks more openly. Most of all, the ranger wants to learn about their slaves. But eventually Rynn will want her to know a few things:

  • We have not forgotten that she killed one of our friends and led another to their evil ways.
  • We have evidence that there are other dragons alive in the world, so the cult's ends do not justify their means.
  • The day of reckoning is coming for the cult.

I suspect that what we learn from Gulnith may influence what happens next for Rynn and how long I remain in the game. I'll try to post more reliably until we get to that point.

DeltaWolf
I think we should make Rynn's quest a priority. Even if there is a gate in the marshes we don't know where we would end up or even if the gate is asscessable from the outside -as such to reach the marshes via gate seems like a gamble. Sanjin is intrigued with visiting the Seer, and wouln't be oppeset to seeing her first.

Eryx (DM)
I asked Crosis for something more specific on what he wants to do to try and convince Gulnith he's still a cult member in good standing. He sent me this, as he won't have a computer for a few days:

"I was thinking something along the lines of me having a crisis of faith after Narvoth went after my companion. It’s not so much that I am claiming absolute devotion to the cult, but rather I’m experiencing a kind of cognitive dissonance at the moment. Part of me feels ashamed for what happened, and that part of me wants to protect Gulnith."

He authorized me to roll a Bluff Check, and said that he will shadowdance over to her to try to talk to her surreptitiously, as if hiding his actions from the group.

Bluff: 15 (roll) + 10 (bonuses) = 25 total.

Thev
Khaska thinks Orensland's plan of action is likely the best: Mount Elduin (while Greygook sails to Ethir Port and back), Maha'i lands (see note), and then Niktean Wastes voidgate, with the object of infiltrating the Marshes. While Khaska would like to pay Garth Calad a visit sometime, seeing their response to Gulnith as a hostage makes him realize that they might judge the party somewhat harshly for certain of our actions while acting as the Maramos bodyguards (do they know of Manson's demise? eesh). A crystal ball sounds like a wonderful idea for the operation of the voidgates, and the party should have more than enough resources for the purchase of one or two.

Note regarding Maha'i lands: while Khaska was originally thinking of taking Feral back to Jevereshk (as Gtarrei is, of course, out of the question), he now has some reservations. First, he's realized that Jevereshk would be a culture shock for Feral, who wouldn't even know the language; and for Khaska himself, who didn't grow up there and who has been changed by his voyaging. Second, Khaska doesn't feel quite ready to return to Jevereshk, and is wondering if there might be other options in life — whether he might use his new knowledge (Tawru, everything outside of the Wastes) and artifacts (Kvanir) for purposes other than returning and qualifying to join a clan. Maybe he can heal some old wounds and give his people a place on the planet.

With that in mind, he thinks it would be preferable to introduce Feral to Simtor in Laishtek, which would be a more convenient stop for the party, anyway. If she wanted, he'd provide her a letter of introduction to his Mawkhavi clan.

More immediately, Khaska trusts Orensland with Gulnith's questioning.

“There must be some way to get information out of her that would not require me to ‘take a walk,’” he replied. “Surely we should explore those options first.”

“Tricking is good,” Rynn replied. “But she needs to pay for her crimes.”

“I have not forgotten that,” Khaska said, “but we seek justice, not vengeance.”

Rynn glanced at the cleric, but held his tongue.

Orensland snapped his fingers, looking over at Gulnith, unconscious and on the other side of the skyship and the campsite. “I have an idea. But I need to take first watch tonight.”


Orensland shadowdanced over to Gulnith a short time later, moving stealthily (even though all his allies were aware of the plan by now) to keep the ruse up. When he reached her, he moved behind her and began whispering.

“Gulnith. Gulnith!” It took a moment … they had not let her wounds heal and she had not eaten much for several days, but eventually she woke up.

“It’s me. Orensland. Look, I’m sorry about what happened back in Darkcrest. My friends turned on Narvoth for their own reasons, and I got caught up in the middle. I’ve managed to keep you alive so far but now that we’re all back together outside of Darkcrest, I don’t know that I can stave off the Bringers anymore, and they want to execute you. You know how their kind is.” He took a deep breath. “I can get you out of here, and we can run, but I of course don’t want to be killed or enslaved by the Cult when we reach some kind of safety, presumably in the Marshes, for not having died defending Narvoth and Rickas. The way I see it, you have two options here. Trust me, or hope the Bringers don’t smash your skull in. I hope you pick the former, because I still want to help the cause, but I’d rather not be flayed alive either. Squeeze my hand if you want to escape tonight and will help me not get killed by the Cult. I’m to take first watch.”

Eryx (DM)
I asked Crosis for Bluff and Sense Motive rolls.

Bluff: 15 (roll) + 10 (bonuses) = 25 total. (This was actually posted first in the last gray box.)

Sense Motive: 15 (roll) + 0 (bonuses) = 15.

She squeezed his hand.

So be it.


A few hours later everybody else was “asleep” and Orensland shadowdanced over to Gulnith, cutting her bonds with a swift slash of his dagger. This was the most dangerous part … if she wanted to try to take on the camp (a risky proposition, but all her propositions at this point were risky) this would be the moment. Orensland tensed, his hand at his longsword, ready to draw it, but she merely rubbed her wrists to restore circulation and then nodded away. They crept quietly away from the camp.

After she ate some of his rations hungrily and after an hour of swinging her arms to get them back to their proper usage from being tied up for days, he felt they were making good time. Still, he wait until they were well away from the camp and had journeyed for several hours in silence before he spoke up.

They had been traveling, walking at quite a quick pace for some time, before Orensland felt he could begin a conversation with her. He thought it best to start with something innocuous, as well as flattering. “Forgive me if I’m being presumptuous, but should I refer to you as Supreme Wyrmhead now?”

“That remains to be seen. Certainly my survival of the assasination attempt on Wyrmhead Rickas and Hierophant Narvoth will be seen as a positive by our membership. I suspect I can push off any rival challengers.” She glanced over at him. “If I ascent to Supreme Wyrmhead, rest assured you'll be rewarded handsomely. How would you feel about being my personal bodyguard?”

“I cannot express how honored I would be. I admit I feared the membership would reduce me to the status of a slave for my past actions— though happy to serve, it would be a minuscule contribution of my more unique talents. To be a bodyguard of such a high-ranking official is more than I dared dream.”

“Your skills are uniquely suited for many things that would be of use. And you played your hand well when your compatriots turned on us, biding your time to save at least me.”

“I will serve to the best of my ability. I am curious of one thing, if I may ask— I have a friend from before my time serving Lord and Lady Maramos who claims her sister joined a pilgrimage with the Peaceful Children who was with child. I am curious if it would be possible to find her (or her child) among the slaves at the citadel.”

“How long ago was this pilgrimmage?”

Orensland had no idea when the pilgrimages would have first started. So he decided to play it safe. “About a year ago.”

“Then I'm sad to say they are probably dead. The Peaceful children were a front for the cult to gain more slaves, but they betrayed us. We obliterated the last pilgrimage as well as all of the high rnaking members of the Children, who were actually priests of Nerull.”

The shadowdancer thought back to the site they had found in the Martumal forest, nearly a year ago. Complete devastation, and a grave insult to the god of death himself. The cult had been responsible for that? Wow. But, his playing it safe wouldn’t actually get him information on Rynn’s family and the fate of the other slaves that actually made it back to the Citadel. “If there’s a chance they made it to the Citadel prior to the Cult’s attack on the Children could they still be alive? I wasn’t given an exact timeline, I’m afraid.”

“If they weren't in the last pilgrimmage, then yes, they are at the Citadel, which is where we are heading.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

“You won't be able to tell this friend about his family, you know. Once we get to the Citadel, I intend to stay there until the Dedication, which is years from now.”

“I knew that would probably be the case— it’s merely a curiosity I’ve considered since learning of the prior relation between the Cult and Children. Will our time at the Citadel be a preparation for this ‘Dedication,’ then? May I ask what that entails? I admit I was curious during our meeting with the Maramos household, but the subsequent events prevented me from asking you in private about it.”

“The Dedication is something we only discuss at the Citadel itself. If you recall the conversation with Lord and Lady Maramos, we didn't even tell them. All you need know now is that we have plans to survive the onslaught from Arkenos during the Dark Times. First things first.”

“Even this close to the marshes? Forgive my candor, but is it so sensitive a topic it cannot be uttered in a remote wilderness next to the Citadel as we are in?”

“The decision was not made by me, and I don't intend to be killed for disobeying.” That was interesting. It implied that, even if she was Supreme Wyrhmead, or about to be, there were still things that could be done to get one killed. She wasn’t shedding too many tears of Narvoth and Rickas, after all. Was there someone higher than the Wyrhmead? Or a council or something? Perhaps now wasn’t the time to push for more details on this point.

“Once we get to the Citadel, then we can discuss it.”

“Wise words, I understand.”

“Will we have to walk through the marshes to get to the Citadel? I’ve been told such actions can be quite dangerous.”

She smiled, her teeth showing, each of them now more pointy than the average human tooth. “The Marshes are dangerous because of our forces. They patrol the edges of them quite thorougly. If we can get there, we'll be safe.” She glanced behind. “We'll have to hide well from that skyship if they pursue us.”

“I see. So the rumors of danger are true, just not danger of wild beasts.” He also glanced back, knowing that he would see nothing. Rynn said they would hold back, lest they scare her into panicking. She was weak after several days of being tied up and eating very little. Orensland was on his own, but he was also not very worried, her spellcasting aside.

“I’ll keep an eye out, ma’am, both for them and for potential hiding places if they come. But I took the first watch. It’s likely we won’t be noticed for the entire night, since our pattern had been for the first watch to wake up the second.” He swung the conversation back to the Marshes. “I’m glad to know that we won’t be fighting off wild beasts for hundreds of miles of swamp.”

“The degree to which everybody on our moon is scared of the Marshes is a testament to our forces and how efficient they are at blocking people from going in and out. In fact, so few even try it these past few years I almost wonder if we should draw down our forces patrolling the edges. There are other uses to which they could be put.”

“That is quite a large area to cover. Is the Citadel quite populated, then? How many kinds of people might we find there?”

“The Cult has all kinds of races, any who wish to worship Tiamat or the dragons in general. We also have a sizeable drow army, but they worship Lloth, as is their custom.”

“That would explain Narvoth’s displeasure over their presence, I suppose. How many slaves are there at the Citadel, then? Are they primarily used for construction labor?”

“Yes. The surrounding area has been built as a nightmare of traps and defenses. Any attack by the devils of Arkenos would be not worth it.”

Orensland thought through the implications. Surely the forces of Arkenos would have skyships or flying beasts … or else how would they get here? He thought to ask about this. “Including strikes from the air?”

At this, she smirked. “You don't need to be concerned with our air defenses, but the slaves to not contribute to those.” She was being cagey, but gave off an absolute air of confidence. Perhaps this was a way to inquire about other live dragons. “The only creatures I can think that would evoke that degree of confidence are dragons. Come to think of it, are you not worried the Knights might find out about your base in the marshes and seek to end your enslavement of so many?”

“The Knights abandoned the deadlands almost a century ago in their attempt to prepare for the Dark Times. Our operation in the most inhospitable place on our moon as far from civilization as possible remains outside their purview. We’ve built up our forces and defences slowly over time, so as not to draw attention. You’d be surprised how much one can accomplish bit by bit, but over decades.”

“Fair enough. But that leads me back to my question … are you not worried about air defenses? We worship dragons, but surely you don’t have free dragons defending the Citadel?”

This time, she did not reply.

Orensland decided to push forward. He tried to look startled, perhaps even hopeful. “You don’t mean to insinuate… there are such things as free dragons?”

She was still smirking, but changed the subject. “We had best keep moving. Our best chance is to get a good distance away this first night before they realize your ruse.”

“I look forward to perhaps meeting one in person one day. But yes, we should continue.”

He hadn’t discussed this next portion with his friends, but he thought it worth the risk—to ask about the potential metallic dragons they had encountered. “I’ve actually suspected such dragons may yet exist. I’ve encountered two individuals that struck me as… oddly powerful. I’ve kept my suspicions to myself, but in thinking about it, they would have been metallic dragons. If they were such, would they serve as a threat to the Citadel?”

Gulnith immediately snapped to attention, reached for the shadowdancer and grabbed the front of his shirt, pulling him close. “What?! Who?! Tell me! When was this?!?"

Her reaction genuinely startled him, and he spoke with a bit of a stutter. “W-well… the first was a gnome near Hammerdine about a year and a half ago. I was working a job with him. Why? Are my suspicions true?”

“What was his name?”

“I admit I do not recall, though I suspected he may have been a silver dragon. Again, ma’am, I must ask— is it true?”

She released him, pausing for a long while before finally replying. “It may be.”

Eryx (DM)
At this point, I asked for a Bluff Check, and he got 16 roll + 10 (bonuses) = 26 total.

“Ma’am, what does this mean? If it were true, would that be a danger to the Citadel?”

“Little enough danger to us, but still something we would wish to eliminate. You mentioned several people you thought might be metallic dragons. Who are the others?”

“One other. A dwarf we met at Fort Windhaven. Sanjin, the wizard, was the one who primarily interacted with him and voiced suspicions to me that he was a bronze dragon. An apothecary, Sanjin would remember the name.”

“Ma’am, you were right in that we must make haste. We do not know when they will begin pursuing us.”

She began to walk faster, but still kept the conversation going. “Were there any others?”

“Not that I knew of. What will you do with my suspicions?”

“When we get to the Citadel, we’ll begin investigations. If we can find these Metallics, we will eradicate them in the name of Tiamat.”

“In the name of Tiamat.” Then he reached down and grabbed his sap, smacking her over the back of the head with it in a sudden strike. She went down in a heap quickly, still very wounded from the last few days.

Eryx (DM)
Crosis rolled for the surprise round sneak attack.

Attack: 19 (roll) + 7 DEX = 26.
Damage: 3 (sap) + 3, 1, 5, 6 (sneak attack): 18 damage total.

“That went better than expected,” he said. Then he moved to tie her up and gag her for their wait for the others to follow in a few hours.

Eryx (DM)
So I have enough information to start writing up the next post except for one detail.

What are you going to do with Gulnith?

The plan, as I understand it, is to have the Skyship head for Mount Elduin, then while you explore the mountain/talk to the seer, Greygook will take the former prisoners to Ethir Port and get them all set up. Then he’ll come back to pick you up, and we’ll see where things go from there—the basic plan being to head to the gate by the Niktean Wastes, but there will be several posts between here and there, so we’ll cross those (voidgate) bridges when we come to them. (Ha! A pun!)

And regarding something Thev said in the last box, you don’t think the Bringers were aware of your assassination of Manson, but he was the leader of an excommunicated branch that was vying to come back and take power in the organization, so while they might see it as a bad thing to have killed him, there was no love lost there either. Do with that what you will.

Also, there's a new page on the left sidebar for your convenience: Major Plot Points

Crosis
I vote we let the Bringers try to interrogate her before executing her. He probably wouldn't mention the metallic dragons to the Bringers, but would make clear the very real possibility that free chromatin dragons are ruling at the Citadel. He'd basically tell them everything he learned from Gulnith (except for the metallic dragon bit). Hopefully they can get more info out of her regarding the Dedication, that seems to be the biggest unanswered question mark. We'd want to make sure that Gulnith is executed before leaving. Other than that, on to Mount Elduin, I'd say!

Eryx (DM)
I didn't make one thing clear above. This dialogue between Gulnith and Orensland was done over IM between myself and Crosis.

Thev
Khaska also agrees to turn Gulnith over to the Bringers, and sharing with them the information that Crosis indicated in his above post (withholding the information about the metallic dragons). It seems unlikely that she'll share more information, especially with hostile forces, but the Bringers can make the attempt.

Khaska would also consider notifying the Bringers that they should keep an eye on the Maramos household. They don't need to know about the voidgates, yet, but it would be good to have friendly forces watching over the Darkcrest voidgate.

BlackWolf
Rynn will hang around Gulnith until she wakes. He's sizing her up, thinking about the crimes the Cult has committed and which she is privy to (as opposed to some of the lower-ranking members who are kept out of the darker secrets). He wants her to see him before she is turned over to the Bringers so she'll know that the party she tried to destroy lo those codexes past have brought her to the end of her evil ways.

However, he won't have any words for her — from what Orensland reported, he expects Gulnith to be like Adam: ready to speak her wretched thoughts until the bitter end. Plus it's unlikely we'd learn anything more about the slaves or even Amara from her. So he'll just let her see him, then silently walk away and let the Bringers dispatch her. The ranger knows she must not be allowed to live, but perhaps it's better to let the Bringers deal with her. As Khaska so recently reminded him, Rynn is not impartial with his brand of justice.

As for the plan, Rynn will wait as patiently as he can while the group visits the seer. He likes the idea of Greygook helping transport the prisoners anyway. But mostly he's anxious to head to a voidgate to attempt to enter the Citadel.

DeltaWolf
Sanjin has no opinion on what to do with her.
One of the members of my Pathfinder group expressed real intrest in joining our group -I think he will make a good additon.

He didn’t need to wait long. A little less than an hour later Rynn and Ranna pushed through the nearby grass. About half an hour later the skyship appeared, slowly drifting over the hills they were on.

Orensland reported on what she had said (though omitted the portions about the metallic dragons, wanting to have that discussion privately with the others in the party) and then asked what they should do. There was a long pause.

“I think she told me quite a bit,” he continued. “But if the Bringers can get some more out of her, I say go for it.”

Khaska looked worried, but didn’t respond. Rynn shrugged, and went to sit down near Gulnith.

“Well,” Sionia said, “let’s wake her up and get to questioning her.” She motioned to one of the clerics, who reached out a hand to heal her just barely. The divine magic flowed into the sorceress and Gulnith’s eyes fluttered for a moment, then snapped open and found Orensland. He could practically hear her teeth grating, even through the gag, and her hands opened and clenched impotently.

“We have questions for you,” Sionia said. “I’ll be asking for more specifics than our roguish friend over there.” She brandished a torch and a dagger. “And we’re not going to be as nice about it.”


Some time later, Sionia came over to where the party had made camp, though Rynn had remained over with Gulnith and the Bringers. “We’ve received some more specific intel on how they work the slave trade here in the Deadlands, but I think she’s told us all we’re going to get form her without a more exhaustive interrovation that we don’t have the time for. With your permission, I think it’s time to kill her now, and we can all go our separate ways.”

Khaska stood and beckoned the others. “Come, it is time to see her evil ended.”

As they approached, Gulnith glared at them. Rynn stood to join the others. The Bringer’s fighter stood with sword to Gulnith’s neck. Her gag was gone so she could speak, and her face showed signs of bruises newly forming. A smell of burnt flesh filled the air, and her feet were exposed and blackened.

“I’m glad to see you’ll get what you deserve after all these years,” Rynn said to her. She looked at him. Puzzled. Rynn nodded. “I thought so.” He turned to the others. “She doesn’t even recognize us from Laishtek.” He walked closer and knelt in front of her. “You helped corrupt one of our friends in Laishtek, and in your escape killed yet another friend.”

Her eyes widened at that and she glanced around. “Amara’s friends.” She frowned. “Where’s the monk?”

“Her path has led her away from ours,” Khaska said. “We parted ways with her, though we have our new wizard friend here to aid us.”

“So what is Amara up to these days?” Orensland said. “We have a score to settle with her, too.”

“Serving the cause,” Gulnith said. Then she laughed “You may have inadvertently helped your friend by killing all of us. It remains to be seen who is ruthless enough to rise to Supreme Wyrmhead. Pity she didn’t join us on the trip to Darkcrest. We would have snuffed you out before you even had a chance to try anything.”

“Evil will, in the end, always, turn on itself as it did in Darkcrest. We merely took the opportunity to affect the outcome,” Khaska intoned.

“You have history with this woman?” Sionia asked. “Then perhaps one of you should be the one to finish her. Perhaps you, Rynn, because of the loss of this friend of yours.”

“Her name was Fan,” the ranger said. “And I’d rather not be the one to do this.” He thought back to his moment of anger with Adam. His hand grabbed the hilt of the orcish dagger, not wanting to do that same kind of action. Reckless. Impulsive.

He felt Khaska’s hand on his, atop the dagger. “I do not think this situation is the same as the one you are thinking of. Adam goaded you into action, taunting you. There were, perhaps then, options with the authorities in Hammerdine. But we are here in the deadlands, away from such structures and societal niecities. This woman has committed murder. Slavery. Theft. Has consorted with evil doers and seeks to harm the very moon we walk on with the organization she seeks to lead. If you decide to kill her here, that will be a very different decision.”

“It’s your choice,” Sionia said. “But she’ll be dead shortly whether at your hands or ours.”

Rynn thought for a moment, and then reached into his haversack to draw out his bow. His bow. The one he had spent months crafting. He didn’t take out bonestrike. He didn’t grab one of the other enchanted bows bestowed on him by the vampires. It was his personal bow.

He took a few steps back and nocked an arrow. “Anybody have any last words for our friend here. Or do you have any last words?”

“I hope you keep going after the Cult,” she said. “That’s not going to end well for you.”

“The day comes ever sooner that your name will be forgotten,” Khaska said. “And all that will live on is the memory of your sins.”

Orensland just gave a jaunty wave.

Then Rynn drew the bow back, sighted along the arrow, and loosed it. It hit her heart with a wet thud, and she slumped over, dead.

Khaska hoped, wherever her soul had gone to its rest, that Fan felt some measure of justice. He would have to remember to write to her family, especially to her brother, Orthan.

“Well done,” Sionia said. “You’re sure you won’t come with us to Garth Calad? You would be welcome.”

“No thank you,” Khaska said. “With Greygook, we have other business to attend to on the living side. But we wish you well. If you are returning to Darkcrest, may I suggest you keep an eye on the Maramos’ household. I feel there are secrets there that may be worth watching, even if the vampires themselves are now dead.”

“We’ll keep an eye on everything,” she said, “but thanks for the advice.”

The party loaded up onto the Glittersail skyship, and watched as the Bringers burned Gulnith’s body (to help hinder possible resurrection) until the flames vanished into the distance.

“To Mount Elduin,” Greygook said, “I believe, and then I’ll take these poor folks to Ethir Port, right?” He pointed to the prisoners.

“Indeed,” Khaska said. The possibility of contronting this stone giant seer troubled him. Should one know about one’s future? Perhaps not. But perhaps being armed with foreknowledge could also help prevent future tragedies. “To Mount Elduin.”

Eryx (DM)
With Crosis’ input, I revised the dialogue between him and Gulnith slightly to also discuss the Knights of the Silver Dragons. Gulnith is dead, and you and the Bringers have parted ways.

On to Mount Elduin, I believe, right?

That will end this Codex and with that, end our time in the 3.5 edition rules The holidays are coming up, so let’s take a break and pick this back up in January, eh?

I’ll need Thev to make a decision about what to do with Feral. She desires to return to Maha’i lands. Going to Simtor is her preference.

Thev
I suppose this is one of the places where I'd made a plan but not expressed it in clear terms: Khaska had decided to send Feral to Simtor, and would write a letter of introduction. I suppose, then, that she'll head off with Greygook and the rescued folks, though I almost anticipated that she might remain with the party until the party returns to Gallidus; Khaska in that case would just arrange a face-to-face introduction, and save her the stress and confusion of arranging passage to Laishtek and finding her way around an unfamiliar city. Whichever is her preference, Khaska will be happy to enable.

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