The Crucible

#2 The Search Begins

The Crucible: Session 2 Battlefield Total Exp: 400XP/PC Total GP: 100
WolfPack Trial: Room 1 CR2/600Xp Cp 0/ Gp 0
WolfPack Trial: Room 2 CR2/600Xp Cp 0/ Gp 1
WolfPack Trial: Room 3 200xp/Kara Cp 0/ Gp 0
Pearl N/A Gp 50
Opal N/A Gp 50

Here in the forest, the snow had not yet managed to take residence but the cold air still whipped its way through the trees. Not wanting to sleep on a Dragon feeding ground, they decided to keep pushing forward, thankful that they managed to keep their horses. The rest of the day was tedious as each tree begins to look more and more like all the others to these city dwellers. The marching order had changed though as Nijena took the lead with the orb. Kára continued to take the rear keeping an eye to the sky in case the Black Wyrven should return with more of its clan. Ainanar on the other hand paid very little attention to her surroundings. The strange device that created illusions was her primary focus.

Hand motions seemed to cause strange reactions to the illusions that emanated from it. Yet it was very difficult to decipher any meanings from the pictures. She only gave up on it when the others called a halt for the night. Perhaps a good nights rest would allow her to see things from a new perspective. Even though they may have been city dwellers it didn’t take them long to get used to the routine of taking care of the horses and setting up camp here in the wilds. Ainanar took first watch since her sight was not as good as others in the darkness. Though they may have gotten used to the routine, the odd sounds of the wilds still caused them to tense up. The occasional wolf howl could be heard in the distance. Thankfully the tokens they looted from the [[Factions: RS | Pathfinders]] have been doing a good job keeping the wild life away from them. It seemed only the larger creatures of the wilds were not affected by the tokens.

The night was quiet until it was Nijena’s turn at firewatch. There were no monsters or dragons or demons, just her insatiable thirst for knowledge. This was her first bit of time truly alone with the Orb. So with it in hand she began to ask it questions. She wasn’t sure she was having any luck until some strange lights appeared on the orb itself. Then across the camp she saw Ainanar sit up, say something to her helmet and shove it away in her bag of holding. Was it a coincidence or where her questions related? She wasn’t sure so she waited till the morning after Ainanar had prepared her spells to ask her. Nijena suggested that Ainanar talk to the Orb and see what she could discover from it. Now that should have been a simple task had someone given her a list of questions to ask. Instead someone got creative with the questions. With two words, Orb Glow, Ainanar managed to bathe the forest in a sphere of blinding light that could clearly be seen for miles in the cold dark predawn morning.

They managed to shut it off and decided to quickly leave the area. However once mounted on their horses they realized that the horses were still feeling the affects of the bright light. So they had to walk them for a mile before being able to mount up again and ride. After travelling for a couple hours they finally felt like they had put enough distance behind them to stop and talk. It didn’t take long for them to notice the smells of something cooking and soon after noticed what seemed like smoke coming from a chimney. Although they don’t have a single rogue among them, Nijena being the stealthiest of the group was volunteered to investigate. Nestled in the trees next to the shore was a small shack with the shutters wide open. Inside was a man cooking breakfast, his hair very well groomed and his home clean and orderly.

Nijena made her way back to the group, and they decided to investigate further. Before entering Ainanar decided to ask the Orb what it knew if anything of the man inside the shack. In an odd turn of events the Orb started quoting poetry. Even stranger, next to the door was a sign written in the same kind of verse as the poem that the Orb recited to her. With a simple knock the stranger tells them to enter so they do and quickly find what few seats remain. The gentleman is rather cordial, which is a change since normally the gm likes to make all of his NPC’s into smart asses. He introduced himself as the Raven and the PC’s pounced on him as quick as possible with their questions. Not really liking the answers, but things were starting to get interesting as they were slowly beginning to catch a glimpse of the larger forces at work here. However danger may lurk for some, as he told Kára to be careful with whatever choice she made should she come across the houses for if she choose wrong danger would seize her. Nijena was told she might find solace in one house if she choose the Raven should the choice be presented to her. Ainanar was left with no warnings, just the occasional distasteful glare from the gentleman in the cabin.

Wanting to be no where near the strangers who set off the bright light in the forest he told them to leave and then planned to travel as far away from them as possible. So they left the house but continued to discuss their plans and even went so far as to start asking the Orb more questions. Just as they were about to do something stupid, the Raven rushed out, grabbed Ainanar’s wrist, stopped the madness and told them to please just leave! They finally got the hint and continued their journey south. Little did they know that the events of the day were only going to continue to be bizarre and confusing.

The sounds of the ocean became a new companion as they used the shoreline as their own form of natural compass. Further south they traveled, hugging the coastline so the trees never became to dense for the horses. Ahead in the distance they could see something strange was happening in the forest. The view in front of them was fractured and shattered, as images of things were twisted and bent. A large metal ring surrounded by Altars stood in the middle of the clearing. Inside the large metal ring was a giant fireball that looked like it was exploding, however the fire did not seem to be moving at all. Leaves hung in the air creating strange patterns and swirls. Ainanar was the first one to work up the courage to try and traverse this strange section of the forest. However once inside the strange angles and lights messed with her head and she quickly got turned around and found herself once again outside of the effected area.

Seeing their companion return unharmed the others also worked up the courage to try and get inside. Nijena was the first to work her way inside and manage to stay inside the area. She quickly moved to investigate the altars. Ignoring entirely the giant exploding fireball in the center of the clearing. The symbols on the altars were easy to distinguish even though they were covered in leaves. With no hesitation she placed her hands on the obsidian hand plate. Cold metal encased her hand and the Altar choose her filling her with its power. It was then she noticed the large wolf sleeping under a tree. She went to try and wake it while the others choose their own paths.

Kára once inside also ignored the giant portal in the center of the clearing. Not one to shy away from danger she too looked over the Altars. However she must not have listened to the old man’s advice for her greed ended up costing her. Stepping up to the Dragon Altar with no fear or hesitation she offered her hand. The bands pulsed with a chilling cold that even with her resistances could be felt. It wasn’t until the voice started speaking to her that she started to doubt if she had made the right choice. She blindly accepted the terms and conditions and was feeling pretty good about herself. That was until she went to the Unicorn’s Altar. She placed her hand upon the obsidian hand plate and this time the metal that encased her pulsed with energy. The sound of screaming filled her mind. She wanted to remove her hand however it firmly had her. The screaming continued for what felt like hours but was only a couple minutes. It was then that she was certain she had chosen wrong. Eventually the Altar released her, but not before it berated her for the decisions she made. After she also went over to investigate the wolf.

Ainanar had a bit of difficulty staying inside this area but once in she set to work catching up on what the others did. She went to the Wolves Altar and cleared it of the leaves that had gathered on top. Written on the stone was 8 names. She was disturbed and intrigued when she noticed that her name was on that list, and it looked as if it had been recently carved on top. Her time at the altar was not surprisingly the least eventful as she had already been accepted by the pack. She then used the time to be the only one to investigate the large explosion that seemed suspended in time. It appeared to not be moving at all, but after staring at it long enough she did notice the tiniest of movement in the flame. That and some not so direct words from the Orb convinced her that they needed to leave as quickly as possible.

Nijena wasn’t having any of that though. She was determined to remove this wolf from the area before moving forward. So after trying to set it on fire and then dousing it in water, they decided to just carry him out of the area of effect and see if they could awaken him there. It took a little while but they managed to wake him. The GM must have hit his head or something cause here was a second PC that was actually informative and friendly. A very rare occurrence in a campaign and now two in one session! Someone call a Doctor! The wolf’s behavior is a little strange for a creature and they notice that his movements are very human like in nature. They begin to suspect that this is not a true wolf but actually someone either wild shaped or polymorphed into this form. The GM was feeling a little generous so he allowed the PC to cast tongues on the wolf. The wolf speaks with great difficulty still but manages to get his meanings across.

Now out of the danger zone, so to speak, they continue their journey south to the Temple. It takes about 2.5 more days in the saddle to make it there. Many questions fill their minds but there are not many answers out here in the wild forests. Eventually they come to the ruins, feeling a bit dejected at the sight of it. It is only when they realize there is a whole section underground that seems to have survived the destruction that their spirits start to pick up. The stairs go about 200 feet underground before coming to a well lit room with several statues of fine looking men, there are 2 additional statues but they seem to be blank in appearance and weathered and worn. There are several rooms that branch off the main, and then a large library that has well weathered the test of time thanks to the protective nature of the cavern they are in. They find rooms to set their stuff in and settle in for a bit of rest and research. Happy to not be sleeping on the hard cold earth out in the wilds.

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Session 2.1 – The Blue Book Continuations!

At first everyone was excited to be here, to learn and see what they could find. However it soon became apparent that not everyone was really a lover of reading. Kára especially found the waiting to be very tiresome. There is only so much room to pace in the hall ways so she decided to start investigating all the rooms. The only real item of interest is the one door that says Do Not Enter. Of course a sign like that is more like an invitation to certain people. It also didn’t take long for the others to notice she was missing either. Perhaps it was not hearing the steady tempo of her pacing on the stone floors anymore.

We will Start with Kára, since she was the first one to enter into the Forbidden zone and the only one to enter without first getting approval, and start the next log with the others. The stone floor here is well preserved and she moved forward unafraid not knowing the answers that would be put before her here in the darkness. She makes her way down the steps only to have them shift into a ramp into the darkness. She is able to keep her footing by spreading her legs to the side and moving slowly down the remaining steps. Here she finds an ogre, chained to a slate platform. He sits listening, and when she moves around the edges of the wall, he continues to watch her. He was confused by her actions but he allowed her to continue on her path. Eventually she offered him some jerky as no one has been through this way in a long way. His voice cracked a bit as he says, “Fail”, while his arms move to hit a switch. A section of the platform rotates revealing a spiral staircase leading down.

The air is much cooler down here and thick spider webs coat the walls and railing. The sounds of something skittering inside the walls is a little unnerving, but she was committed to her course. After traveling a good ways down she eventually could see the flicker of torchlight coming from a room below here. As she made her way into the room she noticed a large torch in a metal pole in the exact center of the room. She checked the walls first and found a section of rock that had a cold breeze coming from behind it. Finding no way to open it she decided to investigate the torch. She pulled it back and the sounds of gears moving above her and below her sounded ancient and moaned. The skittering form earlier became reality as a large spider lowered itself from the ceiling.

It webbed the torch, causing it to go out and become stuck in the position it was in. Kára didn’t hesitate this time and quickly sprung to action. Two swipes of her axe and the spider quickly became yesterday’s news. However the sounds of the gears continued to go on around her. With no spider to worry her she finally got a good glimpse of the torch mechanism. A spot for a large stone seemed to have been cut out and was missing from the torch. Looking around the room, the only thing in it was the spider so she quickly looked it over. Two of the spiders eyes had been replaced. She ripped them out and placed one in the torch. Then removed the remaining webs and the torch clicked back into place. The light flickered and danced in a strange chromatic pattern until a single spot on the wall was revealed. Further inspection revealed a stone there was loose and could be pressed. After pressing it the gears once again started moving. The sound of rushing water could be heard from above and small rivulets could be seen forming on the walls. She knocked the stone out of the torch and put the other one in. The other stone clicked into place and the whole platform rotated, revealing a regal staircase underneath.

Gilded sconces held unlit torches and two stone wolves stood at the bottom in front of a large stone door. The door is very intricately carved to look like a grand ancient forest. Two obsidian hand plates have been worked into the door, one one each door. She puts her hands there but nothing seems to happen. So she decides to investigate the rest of the room. The stone wolves are well carved and look lifelike, except for the rubies they have for eyes. They don’t seem to move though even after inspecting them. So she moves her attention to the torches. She takes the torch out of one of the sconces and uses the flames from the torch above to light it. Lighting the other torches causes the walls to come alive with the illusion of being in a grand forest. Once all the torches are lit and the last one replaced she notices that the illusion has also included the large doors themselves. The grand carving now looks like the water is running and even the occasional bird flying can be seen. The two rings surrounding the obsidian plates now have lights around them. So once again she puts her hands there. This time hoping for a different result.

I don’t normally include much of the dialogue, but I will include this bit here.

The voice in her head sounds amused, “Long has it been since the temple has seen one of the realm. The least probable of all the options has come to knock at our door. A child of the Unicorn taken in by the Dragon seeking knowledge at the Wolves gate. If such a being more confused and backwards than yourself exists in this realm I would be surprised. You are either the bravest woman in this time or the most foolish and insane to have ever dared enter.” Kára reseponded with, “Probably a bit of both, to be honest.” Sounding a bit annoyed now, the door responded with, “Why are you here child of the chromatic skies. Your people are not supposed to be here anymore. The Third Galactic Covenant of Emperor Khalil states that in the 35th year since the founding of the empire the Unicorn Tribe would return through the gates, leaving the others to deal with the creation in whatever manner they deemed necessary for the survival of all the races.” Kára with a mixture of innocence and surprise, “Forgive me, I was unaware of that. I honestly don’t know why I’m here. I’m trying to find my way back to a home that I don’t remember.” The door was surprised once again by her honesty, “I can sense the fractures in your mind. It would explain how the Dragon even managed to get in at all. You were a fool to accept their gifts. Lack of knowledge is no excuse. It has been many years since a dragon has walked the face of this planet. The last known Dragon was Nesenth the Vile in the 332nd Year of Kallil’s reign. The others where removed under the 52nd Galactic Covenant. A shame the knowledge has not survived the time. Why should we let you pass or even leave? You are now tainted with the dragons blood and violating numerous galactic covenants.”

Kára now a bit resigned and very concerned, “Is there a way for me to remove the dragon blood?” The door unsure of how much to tell to the enemy decides to walk a middle of the ground path. “There is no known way unless your people have one on the other side of the gates. The last attempt was with Zinnath the Destroyer in the 175th year of Kallil’s reign.” Kára now trying to back peddle a bit, “I take it that didn’t go well. Well, I mean no harm and just wish to return home. Perhaps there’s something I can do to atone?” As if a judge passing sentence to the condemned the door spoke with conviction, “You will bring fire and destruction to this world. The heavens will be torn asunder with the actions of you and your companions. Your people are no longer allowed her because of the death they always bring in their wake. The stone has already been cast in to the pond. Take what you will death bringer I no longer have the strength to stop you. The Ages have robbed me of my power. So with my remaining power I shall name you. I name you Kára the Corrupted. Journey forth if you dare, the sentries will no longer allow you to pass in peace.” Her skin burns as the bands heat up before they let her go. The illusion on the door runs dark red as if covered in blood. Cracks appear in the door and it crumbles around her. The stone dogs to her side come to life and attack her.

She makes quick work of them but chooses to do subdual damage in the hopes to not upset the wolves further. She leaves them alone and ventures further on. The pathway here branches into 5 different hallways. 4 of the hallways have impressions of animals showcasing what is down them. She investigates them all except for the Wolf path, as she has been receiving a bunch of mixed messages from them lately. Her search left her feeling more confused as she came across more of the strange armors and books in strange languages. She took some of them with her so that she could read them later, however in her current emotional state reading is the last thing on her mind. Getting her to read under normal circumstances is already a challenge. With her books in hand she continued to explore the cold underground chambers. With only one path remaining she chose to follow it, finding herself in a large reading room. Old couches and tables sat with empty lanterns and unlit candles resting nearby. Clearly no one has used this room in a long time. A lone door against the far wall is the only sound in the room as wind batters it from the other side.

She moves hesitantly towards the door…….

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Anubisshade

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