Our heroes were planning our next steps within a tavern in the small village of Baf’s Crossing when suddenly a stranger rushed in causing a big stir. He claimed he was running from a Fire Giant that was headed directly towards the town. Soon we learned that the stranger was named Alvin, and that the giant and his entourage had killed Alvin’s entire party. The giant was in search of a fire wand that had been stolen from the plane of fire and was burning everything in its path.
Mat told the bartender at the tavern we were staying at to evacuate the townsfolk to the nearby temple of Kara Kai in the neighboring mountains, and wait for the giant to pass.
He was now searching for help leading a party into the mountains for a weapon capable of defeating the giant.
Alvin told us that his party had been following a map which led to a weapon capable of defeating the giant, and shared it with us. It took us up into the mountains where the terrain began to change and become colder with each passing step. Soon we heard a slithering sound and encountered a vicious Remorhaz, which seemed to be guarding something within the vicinity. We had no sooner killed it and harvested its fins to sell for a quick profit, when we turned to see the Baf’s Crossing beneath us begin to smoke and burn. The giant had reached the town and was razing it to the ground.
We trudged ahead, cautiously approaching a beholder made of ice when the frozen mountain behind us shifted and shook as a white dragon stood up menacingly and exhaled a large icy cloud toward us. We took off at a full run in the opposite direction and plunged into a tunnel with the dragon close behind. As the cave narrowed, the dragon slowed, and soon it was not able to follow us any further or risk becoming trapped between the walls.
After a few more minutes without a sign of being pursued, we began to hear a heavy breathing sound in front of us, and the cave opened into a large chasm that seemed to yawn into nothingness. A “Light” spell revealed something shiny down at the bottom of the chasm, but it wasn’t until Kellin flew down and saw a massive white dragon sleeping atop a pile of treasure that our party knew the true danger we had stumbled upon.
The map we had been following had the name “Frigillix” written along the bottom, and our party assumed that the dragon itself was the weapon we were seeking. Zefir recalled that in our history, Frigillix was powerful white dragon that had played a role in the Dragon Wars. Deciding that diplomacy was the best approach, our party began to negotiate with Frigillix for its help defeating the Fire Giant. Initially preferring not to get involved, the dragon eventually admitted that if the giant came anywhere near his lair, there would be a swift reprisal. We decided our best course of action was to lead the Fire Giant and his entourage to Frigillix’s lair, where one side would surely defeat the other. We would take our chances and deal with the victorious side when the came time. ON our way out of the cavern, we struck a deal to trade some details about Frigillix’s fate in return for a powerful wand of healing. We bid farewell to Alvin and urged him to get to safety.
Heading down the mountain towards the burning village, we hid in the surrounding bushes and readied ourselves to attack the oncoming wave of enemies as they crossed a bridge over a rushing river. Our group quickly dispatched several fire elementals and a fire salamander. Feeling empowered, we decided to attack the giant head on – but a crushing blow on Raven, then another on Kellin, quickly changed our minds back to our original plan. Thankfully we could move faster than the giant, and we led the creature, who was now irritated, up towards Frigillix’s lair. Soon Friggilix appeared and an epic battle commenced as our party watched from some nearby cover. Several thunderous blows later, the Fire Giant fell. Frigillix overcame him without much challenge.
We headed to the cave where we’d told the town’s folk to wait and hide. Once we arrived, we could tell that they had indeed been in the cave recently, but everyone was gone, with no clear explanation. Just then, a rock lifted and made a circle around our heroes, before dropping to the ground and rolling away harmlessly. Zefir detected an aura of transmutation magic, oddly emanating from herself. Mat began to sense something was “off” about Zefir, and Raven detected an extra set of thoughts where only Zefir’s was expected. Raven was able to use a “Detect Thoughts” spell to hear an unfamiliar mind thinking the words, “Oh Drat! They have figured it out already.”
Zefir and Raven began to have a mental discussion with this third voice – who turned out to be the demon Kali Ahn. Apparently Kali Ahn had jumped from Leanne’s body to Zefir’s body at the moment we thought she had been exorcised from Leanne. In return for providing a host body, Kali Ahn offered Zefir the power of Telekinesis (level 12).
Kali Ahn told us that the townsfolk had phase shifted to another realm from this cave.
We debated the cost of working with Kali Ahn in return for the gifts she had bestowed upon Zefir and rested for a night outside of the cave. We decided to investigate the nearby ruins of the Kara Kai Monastery. Clearing debris from a stairwell leading down into the underground temple, our heroes descended directly into the path of a large oozing Arcana plasm. Failing a bull rush technique, Bru charged towards it and plunged directly inside it. Before long Lucky was trapped inside it as well, but a few well placed blows from Kellin and Mat downed the ooze before any permanent damage was incurred.
We entered a cavern that appeared to have piles of treasure and riches piled high, but the faint aura of illusion magic around it betrayed something else was at play. Disbelieving our senses, our surroundings shifted and became a dark green cavern with several pools of water. Kellin and Bru dived into one of the pools and scuffled with a large invisible worm for several rounds, but soon gave that up, as Zefir had found an illusion of Cassandra in the far corner of the cavern. The illusion said, “I don’t want you to see what’s here, the keepers caused this. I’m warning you.” Proceeding down a tunnel lined with Quaternity statues, we soon stumbled across a Bedlam which perched upon a pedestal guarding a room. We dispatched the creature and Raven found a wand of ray of enfeeblement hidden within its pedestal.
Further along, we entered into a room with several pillars that each bared the image of Cassandra on them. The illusion of Cassandra appeared again and said, “I don’t want you to see what is here.” We sensed something interfering with our sense of reality and that if we were to fail a will save we might see what she was talking about. Everyone intentionally succumbed, except Lucky and Helicon – and so the rest of the party vanished, leaving Lucky and Helicon behind.
We appeared in a village of some sort, with an audible sound of liquid bubbling somewhere out of sight. Exploring the strange town we discovered a group of giants surrounding a cauldron, who smelled our presence right away and called, “the meat has arrived!” A bloody battle broke out, but at its conclusion, we all found ourselves back at the start of the village again, as if we were caught in a time loop.
This time, we skirted the town’s edge, checking doors and buildings for clues. We discovered miniature versions of the giants trapped between plates and serving domes in one room. Deciding that perhaps this was a test or some sort of magical trap, we decided to do the most unexpected thing – which was to charge the bubbling cauldron and jump inside. As we sprinted toward it, we knew this was either incredibly foolish, or the way out of this strange place. The gods were on our side, as once inside we were magically transported to an entirely different scene.
We were now standing on a stage within a grandiose theater. The audience was full of people who didn’t have faces, and there were others on stage with us, boisterously accusing us and dramatically demanding, “Who killed Ms. Marigold? Was it you Zefir? Are you the Darkon strangler?”
The scene was all a magical trap that required we entertain the audience to escape, so Raven and Zefir began to act very dramatically, projecting their voices and using theatrical flourishes to emphasize their words. They played along with the murder mystery for a while, long enough for the crowd’s boo’s to begin to transform into cheers.
Suddenly we were transported to a dark hallway lined with doors. Inside the doors were identical small rooms where a disturbing scene played out showing Cassandra being tortured with floating knives. One of the rooms was slightly different than the rest, and inside of it we could hear Cassandra pleading, “Yes, yes, I’ll do anything for this to end. I’ll accept your offer Demi-Gorgon.”
At this point Helicon appeared. He had decided to allow himself to be transported to us because while we were zapping from place to place, Cassandra had appeared and Lucky had agreed to go with her and help her fight Murmilius if she would free the party from the magical trap we had entered. It is not clear if she was lying to Lucky, but Helicon said in any case they were gone and he had come after us to let us know what was happening. We went through another door and we’re zapped to another place.
We found ourselves in a strange rocky place, where Kali Ahn whispered in Zefir’s ear, “This smells like home.” Assuming we were in the Abyss, we prepared for battle, and we noticed there were strange tentacles poking up out of the ground as far as the eye could see. They twitched and moved towards us intimidatingly, and we launched into battle with a legion of the strange creatures. Soon we discovered a room where a map of the cave seemed to identify several points of interest. Kali Ahn made us aware of the fact that six gems were buried throughout the cave and that if all were destroyed at the same time, we would exorcise the Demi-Gorgon. On another wall, a battle scene played out, and we could see Lucky, Cassandra, and Murmilius engaged in an epic struggle.
As we fended off the tentacled creatures, the scene showed Murmilus almost overcome by Cassandra, struggling and grasping at his fading strength. Kellin had succeeded in digging up the last gem, and Zefir then used Kali Ann’s telekinisis to drop a boulder on all of the gems simultaneously, destroying them at the same time. Paying close attention to the scene that was playing out on the wall, we watched as the Demi-Gorgon was exorcised from Cassandra, and Murmilus pounced on the dark creature, seemingly killing it.
Kali Ahn whispered to Zefir, “We need to go, now.” She led us back out the same way we came, until the walls of reality shifted again, and we found ourselves in the cave next to the Kara Kai monastery, where we’d asked the townsfolk to hide and wait out the wayward fire giant.
When we emerged from the cave, the first thing we noticed is that Baf’s Crossing was rebuilt and undamaged. A guard at the village’s edge claimed that we were in the year 580, the year of the punishing star, and three years ahead of when we had last been there. The guard said this town was now called “Eleanorville”, named after Leanne’s aunt Eleanor, who rallied the village and helped them survive and escape the abyss. We went to the local tavern, and struck up a conversation with the bartender who filled us in that the town worshipped Orcus now and not the Quaternity, which was a surprise to us.
Raven detected thoughts and overheard the village folk surrounding us for an ambush attack. Throwing ourselves into battle, we fought the villagers until we were able to catch our breath, but fearing we were too wounded to proceed, we decided to retreat to the surrounding woods for a night’s rest before risking more bloodshed. While in the forest, we noticed that Leanne was skulking about in the bushes. We questioned her and found out that she felt people were different after returning from the abyss. Leanne led us to the outside of a fortress, where she said Eleanor was residing.
While we debated our next moves, Zefir realized she had been carrying a scroll of divination, and we agreed we would use it to determine our next steps. Zefir cast the spell and asked, “What needs to happen to thwart Orcas and determine Kali Ann’s motives?”
The scroll answered back: “The fate of the innocents and the plans of your enemy will end in calamity tomorrow.”
Mat concentrated on his memory of history, and recalled that the punishing star was called from the Tower of Knowledge, as a response to destroy Orcas because he had been summoned and escaped. According to the local time, the punishing star was going to happen tomorrow.
Our party decided to put it to a vote, and decided instead of launching a siege on the fortress to rescue the innocents that were inside, we headed to the Tower of Knowledge and warn them that the Punishing Star would kill hundreds of thousands and forever change the landscape of Spartak.
On the way, we fought against two Vrok Demons who blocked our path but teleported away before being overcome. Once we made it to the tower, we saw there were large, dark tempestuous storm clouds surrounding the tower that were much darker than we remembered from our time. The owl watching over the tower said the tower was closed, but we pleaded with it, saying it was a matter of life and death for the entire world.
The owl teleported us to the top of the tower where we encountered Sabella, who seemed distracted and told us that she was too busy to deal with us. We begged and pleaded for her to change history and obstruct the council’s plans to call the punishing star, but to no avail, as she told us that Orcas had already been summoned, had escaped, been recovered, and that she would be voting with the rest of the tower to call the punishing star and that nothing could change that.
Giving us a box of scrolls and magical items, Sabella bid us farewell and teleported us back to the village, urging us to find safety. We found Helicon there, who told us that he had been reunited with his brother Murmilus, and that our actions had changed his life forever. We realized that we changed history, since in our timeline, Helicon and Murmilius were not reunited.
Just then, we turned our gaze skyward and saw a huge meteor heading for the horizon. We knew it’s impact would change Spartak in an infinite number of ways.
Mat continued to tell Helicon things he recalled about history, including details about the Kaldane Priests, effects of the punishing star, and the wave of Lycanthropy that plagued the land.
As the punishing star hurtled through space towards Spartak, we braced ourselves and watched, as the sky began to fall.