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Blade of Angharradh
Topic Started: Jun 29 2018, 07:03 AM (399 Views)
Bloodlines
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With the help of a handful of planeswalkers, the drow Phyrra and Laela were able to track down and defeat a mindflayer that went by the moniker Kaeliss in the hopes of recovering a holy weapon. The planeswalkers also dispatched a small hive of mindflayers that were using the Flesh Market as a steady supply of hosts to undergo ceremorphosis, the process of creating a new mindflayer.

Though the weapon was not where they had hoped, the mindflayer revealed that the sword was in the possession of an elder brain. While unable to get the exact location of the colony, a planeswalker did glean a few images from the mindflayer before it succumbed to its wounds. Now, the search was on!

((Involved PCs may post here for this story arc))





Edited by Bloodlines, Jun 29 2018, 07:04 AM.
Elena Blazhe - The Red Bard
Leyana - Fey of the Winter Court
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Protoss119
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[ *  * ]
True to her word, Ridga Allinsdottir assisted in the search as best as she was able. Although she did not consider herself a woman of means, she asked around Sigil and looked for settlements in the Astral Plane - the current running hypothesis for the location of the mindflayer colony - offering due deference and assistance where she could. Though not the most well-read scholar, she also consulted whatever books she could find that could offer her information on the whereabouts of Illithid colonies. She would report her findings to Phyrra and Laela as best as she was able, trying to keep regular contact with them.

Posted Image

// Not sure if the rolls are necessary, but included them anyway.
Midgard Planeswalkers:
Oleg Semonov - Human Paladin 14/Warpriest 10
Ridga Allinsdottir - Human Fighter 5/Vampire (Via Draco) 7/Stalwart Defender 10/Warden 4
Osric of Crastow - Human Blackguard 9/Death Knight 7
Valgard Thidriksson - Skeleton Fighter 4
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Bloodlines
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Dungeon Master
Ridga would learn a few things. First, Kaeliss was indeed a frequent purchaser of slaves in the Flesh Market. The rumor of his death seemed to be taken as ill news to a few of the slave owners as he was a steady stream of revenue for them. They didn't care what he did with the slaves as it wasn't uncommon for a mindflayer to purchase one for an easy meal. That was simply the way it was.

In other areas, Ridga's inquiry around the Dead God Rock bore some fruit. Stories around the docks suggest that there has been a rise in activity of the githyanki, though the pirates didn't seem interested in harassing the passing merchant ships. Given there was also a rumor of a mindflayer vessel being spotted not far from the usual trade routes, it made sense what had the githyanki so interested.
Elena Blazhe - The Red Bard
Leyana - Fey of the Winter Court
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Protoss119
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[ *  * ]
Taking up a room at Chirper's, Ridga sits down with a vial of ink, a quill, and some parchment, and begins writing a letter...

To Phyrra and Laela,

I hope this finds you in health and happiness. I have spoken to individuals in Sigil and around Dead God Rock, in the Astral Plane. Kaeliss bought many thralls, and as such was a great source of geld for the slavers. One who buys thralls in such large numbers doubtless has documentation of both his dealings with the slavers and, quite possibly, his correspondence with his home colony or another intermediary. Assuming it hasn't been picked clean by now, I would suggest returning to Kaeliss's lair and searching for paperwork. At your discretion, I can undertake this alone, or we can assemble a team to do the same, although my eye is not keenest. Although I am not intimately familiar with mindflayers, I have read that they write in a strange script that none but the mindflayers themselves can understand...I am not certain how to overcome that obstacle. We also should consider the possibility that Kaeliss destroyed said correspondence, or had a means that we can't readily recover...but we won't know until we go.

I have also heard that the githyanki have been unusually active in the Astral Plane, but they have not attacked the merchant ships around Dead God Rock. I have also heard a rumor of a mindflayer vessel not far from the usual trade routes - the githyanki are either hunting this ship in particular or, like us, are trying to find and eradicate its home colony. It's clear to me that both the svartalfar of your world and the githyanki are enemies of the mindflayers, so it may be in our interest to form an alliance with the githyanki. This may not be feasible, however; even if their distrust of outsiders can be overcome, everything I have read suggests that they would prefer to be the dominant partner in any alliance, and while this may bolster our chances of destroying the colony, it may not get us the sword...

I remain your humble servant,

Posted Image

Ridga Allinsdottir

Afterwards, she sealed the letter and left to hire a courier to deliver it to the two drow.
Edited by Protoss119, Jul 4 2018, 08:58 AM.
Midgard Planeswalkers:
Oleg Semonov - Human Paladin 14/Warpriest 10
Ridga Allinsdottir - Human Fighter 5/Vampire (Via Draco) 7/Stalwart Defender 10/Warden 4
Osric of Crastow - Human Blackguard 9/Death Knight 7
Valgard Thidriksson - Skeleton Fighter 4
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Bloodlines
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Dungeon Master
The courier would take the letter and make their way to contact the two in question. After a few days time, Ridga is handed a response.

Quote:
 

Ridga Allinsdottir,

It was not uncommon in the Underdark that my kind made alliances with other races we deemed as lesser. The githyanki are a paranoid, xenophobic race, but their hatred for the illithid goes back centuries. I don't doubt the possibility of a potential alliance with them against the colony, but I fully expect treachery at some point or another. Still, it is an option worth exploring.

Go ahead and take a look at Kaeliss' lair. While I doubt you will find any documentation, illithids are notoriously overconfident in their own abilities. You will likely find something of note there.

Good luck,
Phyrra



Elena Blazhe - The Red Bard
Leyana - Fey of the Winter Court
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Protoss119
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[ *  * ]
After receiving the message, Ridga returns to Kaeliss's lair, armed, ready to deal with any scavengers she comes across. She would search the place as best as she could, relying on her senses and intuition, although she was no great detective.

Posted Image
Midgard Planeswalkers:
Oleg Semonov - Human Paladin 14/Warpriest 10
Ridga Allinsdottir - Human Fighter 5/Vampire (Via Draco) 7/Stalwart Defender 10/Warden 4
Osric of Crastow - Human Blackguard 9/Death Knight 7
Valgard Thidriksson - Skeleton Fighter 4
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Bloodlines
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Dungeon Master
With no one maintaining it, the former mindflayer lair had become infested with a number of cranium rats, though they were easily dispatched by Ridga.

Searching the lair didn't give her what she wanted, but there were a few interesting things of note.

She found a few oddities here and there, some of the mindflayer's possessions that were little more than trinkets. More disturbingly, she found a large ceramic jar filled with a putrid liquid that she surmised was hydrocephalus, fluid commonly found in brains. Inside the jar were over a dozen of hideous tadpole-like creatures, many of them mangled, having feasted upon one another until ultimately there was nothing left to eat.

The cages that were once filled with victims of ceremorphosis were now empty, save for the mangled and dried up husks of the mindflayers the cranium rats had been feeding on.

Even still, she felt that there might have been more to the lair, something beyond what her own eyes were capable of seeing.
Elena Blazhe - The Red Bard
Leyana - Fey of the Winter Court
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Protoss119
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[ *  * ]
Although a gut feeling told her that there was something to the lair that she was missing, she was smart enough to realize she was out of her depth when it came to something like this, and that she would either have to tear the whole lair apart with her prodigious strength or find someone with the skills and the means to uncover its secrets. She returned to her private room at Chirper's, taking the ceramic jar with her, and began drafting another letter...

Phyrra,

My search of the mindflayer's lair did not turn up much - nothing but trinkets, and a jar full of strange tadpole-like creatures which looked to have devoured each other, with the remainder having starved to death. They seemed to have been submerged not in water, but in brain fluid...don't ask me how I know that. I feed on blood, I promise.

Based on what Arwa said when we initially conducted our raid, I believe these were the parasites used to create more mindflayers - ceremorphosis, as Kaeliss called it. From what I could see, there were at least a dozen of these parasites in the jar. It doesn't strike me as the sort of thing one would keep in a minor outpost. I suspect we are a stone's throw away from finding the colony.

I have a gut feeling that I have not yet found everything of value from that place, but I'm afraid that whatever else is there is beyond my sight - again, my eye is not keenest. I'm not certain who in the Guildhall Ward to turn to in order to find a dedicated scout, or someone capable of casting the right spell to reveal everything there, particularly since I am no longer sure exactly what I am looking for - as you suspected, no paperwork was found. Alternatively, we might consider stalking the githyanki in their hunt for the mindflayer vessel, but doing so and then being caught would likely preclude an alliance with them, and in any case, I strongly suspect the vessel and the lair are merely two pieces of a larger puzzle, so investigating one and ignoring the other would end poorly for us.

I remain your humble servant,

Posted Image

Ridga Allinsdottir

After sealing the letter, she once again left to hire a courier to deliver it.
Edited by Protoss119, Jul 4 2018, 08:58 AM.
Midgard Planeswalkers:
Oleg Semonov - Human Paladin 14/Warpriest 10
Ridga Allinsdottir - Human Fighter 5/Vampire (Via Draco) 7/Stalwart Defender 10/Warden 4
Osric of Crastow - Human Blackguard 9/Death Knight 7
Valgard Thidriksson - Skeleton Fighter 4
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Bloodlines
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A response follows:

Quote:
 
Ridga,

I was asked by one of the clergy to request you cease signing your letters in a matter that suggests you are indentured to me. Apparently I need help reading my own mail here and no one can take a joke.

Anyway, it's regrettable that you didn't find anything useful. I'd suggest burning the tadpoles. Don't eat them. A male I knew in Sshamath did once and I'm not going to get into what happened to him. Though at the time I thought it was hilarious. How my taste in humor has changed.

The githyanki no doubt base somewhere. Their crew need to resupply and their vessel needs repairs. See if you can find where they sleep. Speaking to them will be tricky, but let's just hope that their hatred of the illithid outweighs their hatred of everyone else.

The search on our end has bore little fruit. I'm convinced this colony is not in the Underdark. The faerzress is far too unpredictable with portals, which would make the constant coming and going from Sigil problematic even for their kind.

As for the lair, I'd recommend bringing someone back that can see through illusionary magic or perhaps someone gifted in psionics. Also, not all illithids are sympathetic towards colonies, some striking out on their own, not wishing to be forcibly absorbed by the elder brain like so many are. Those that escape this fate have even been known to live in the cities of my people, acting as advisers. It's rare, but if you do find one, they could be useful.

Laela and I have nothing else for us to do here, so we'll be returning to Sigil shortly.

Regards,
Phyrra


Elena Blazhe - The Red Bard
Leyana - Fey of the Winter Court
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Protoss119
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[ *  * ]
Later, Ridga began asking around the Guildhall Ward - no matter how much it had become interchangeable with the Market Ward by this point - about...well, she wasn't very sure how she was going to come across a mindflayer without ties to the colonies, but she started by asking if there were any mindflayers without large ties to the slavers in the Flesh Market, or if there were any who regularly did business with the other merchants, or if there were any who just seemed unusual - as unusual as any mindflayer could be, anyhow - using due discretion as she asked around. Some days, it paid to be one of the living dead; at the very least, she could not be affected by the mental abilities of whichever ones she found...

Posted Image
Midgard Planeswalkers:
Oleg Semonov - Human Paladin 14/Warpriest 10
Ridga Allinsdottir - Human Fighter 5/Vampire (Via Draco) 7/Stalwart Defender 10/Warden 4
Osric of Crastow - Human Blackguard 9/Death Knight 7
Valgard Thidriksson - Skeleton Fighter 4
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Red the Rogue
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[ *  *  * ]
On the previous cycle, Sharon was approached by Ridga about her investigation into the illithid ceremorphosis hideout they had raided not long ago. Having now packed her usual adventuring gear, including her breathing mask, Sharon ventured into Undersigil. The sorceress traced her steps through the maze-like tunnels until finally reaching the now-abandoned area.

Sharon's gaze flicked in the darkness as what little light remained reflected off her eyes, giving them an animal-like glow from her blue irises. Upon giving the first chamber a cursory look-around, Sharon reached into the pocket near her shoulder and pulled out a pair of spectacles, fitted with tinted blue lenses. The sorceress may not have a spell of True Seeing, but glasses fitted with a Gem of Seeing should provide the same effect of seeing through possible illusions. The woman gently slipped her glasses on, then gave them a tap on the rim and murmured the command word to activate them.


"Let's hope the scavengers left something behind," Sharon murmured quietly to herself.

She was careful, meticulous in her search for something there. Magical, psionic, any parchment or other things that could stand out to her. The woman, calling upon her lycanthropic nature, lifted her head and even sniffed the air for anything that Ridga may have missed in her investigations prior.


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Sharon Raynsford - Experienced adventurer finding renewed purpose beyond her prime.
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Bloodlines
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Ridga's result:

Ridga hears of a few mind flayers that match this description, some are slavers themselves while others are frequent buyers of the flesh market. However, there is one mind flayer that stood out among the others that goes by the name Zabesk.

Zabesk, an up and coming merchant of the bazaar, is an Indep with a minor reputation. While mind flayers are commonly known for their elitist and tyrannical mindset, this one appears almost pleasant to converse with and is rumored to have partnerships with a handful of other merchants.


Sharon's result:

As Sharon searches through the empty chambers of the former ilithid dwelling, she comes across a portion of a wall that was concealed by illusion. The illusion melts away to reveal a small room on the other side. Shelves filled with brains floating in a translucent liquid decorate the walls of the room followed a bench covered in various beakers, flasks, vials, and other assorted items for alchemical uses.

When Sharon entered, a faint light illuminated the marble pedestal that sat in the center of the room. A metal stand in the semblance of a mindflayer's head sat on top of the pedestal with an opaque crystal the size of her hand rested in its maw. With her knowledge in both magic and the multiverse, she picks up that it is a psicrystal though it appears dormant.

Though not an expert in alchemy, the materials in the room remind Sharon of an exothermic process for metabolizing compounds. Specifically, the illithid was creating poison though she is unsure what kind.
Edited by Bloodlines, Jul 9 2018, 11:48 PM.
Elena Blazhe - The Red Bard
Leyana - Fey of the Winter Court
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Protoss119
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[ *  * ]
After learning of Zabesk's presence, Ridga returned to her room at Chirper's, and began drafting another letter...

Phyrra,

I have asked Sharon to investigate Kaeliss's lair. Hopefully she will uncover anything I missed; I have instructed her to report anything she finds back to you. Also, I have heard of a mindflayer named Zabesk. He is a member of the Free League, and has no involvement in the thrall trade. He is said to be pleasant to converse with, in contrast to most other mindflayers, and he has partnerships with a few other merchants. He sells his stock in the bazaar, so he should be hard to miss if we require his services. I recommend that we take anything Sharon finds to him for appraisal.

I will see about finding the githyanki outpost next; I assume that this outpost is distinct from the fortress near Dead God Rock. It may take me some time, so if you should write back to me, do not be alarmed if I do not respond immediately.

See you soon,
Posted Image
Ridga Allinsdottir

P.S. If there are any other svartalf clergymen or women of the Maiden/the Lady/Phyrra's faith reading this letter who are not either Phyrra or Laela, I am seeking steady employment in an honorable profession. I do not drink the blood of the innocent. I feed on vials of congealed blood, cattle, or the enemy, physiology permitting and with your permission. Please consider accepting my services as a warrior. Thank you!

Ridga sealed the letter and delivered it to a courier to find its way to the drow. Afterwards, she left for Dead God Rock and asked around for which merchants had sighted the githyanki. Assuming she identified any, she would ask them for passage onto their ship in the hopes of finding a githyanki vessel. Her pitch was not the best - who in their right mind would deliberately seek out githyanki ships? Who would endanger the crew like that? - but she swore she would not endanger the crew, and made it clear she would be willing to pay for passage.

Posted Image
Midgard Planeswalkers:
Oleg Semonov - Human Paladin 14/Warpriest 10
Ridga Allinsdottir - Human Fighter 5/Vampire (Via Draco) 7/Stalwart Defender 10/Warden 4
Osric of Crastow - Human Blackguard 9/Death Knight 7
Valgard Thidriksson - Skeleton Fighter 4
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Red the Rogue
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[ *  *  * ]
Bloodlines
Jul 9 2018, 09:22 PM
Sharon's result:

As Sharon searches through the empty chambers of the former ilithid dwelling, she comes across a portion of a wall that was concealed by illusion. The illusion melts away to reveal a small room on the other side. Shelves filled with brains floating in a translucent liquid decorate the walls of the room followed a bench covered in various beakers, flasks, vials, and other assorted items for alchemical uses.

When Sharon entered, a faint light illuminated the marble pedestal that sat in the center of the room. A metal stand in the semblance of a mindflayer's head sat on top of the pedestal with an opaque crystal the size of her hand rested in its maw. With her knowledge in both magic and the multiverse, she picks up that it is a psicrystal though it appears dormant.

Though not an expert in alchemy, the materials in the room remind Sharon of an exothermic process for metabolizing compounds. Specifically, the illithid was creating poison though she is unsure what kind.
"I thought so," Sharon mumbled, a smirk forming on her lips. The sorceress, after a quick inspection of the newly-revealed pathway, stepped forward and entered the room. Her gaze shifted among the various jars of preserved brains on the shelves before settling on the bench of alchemical mixtures, brow furrowed. "And just what exactly have you been up to, Kaeliss?"

Sharon's eyes were immediately attracted to the illuminated crystal in the center of the room. She paused, then slowly approached it as she gave it an appraising look-over. Of course a mindflayer would make use of a psicrystal, given their natural affinity, but what exactly was going on back here, enough to hide the room but not the rest of the area? The woman pulled out a pair of soft shearling gloves, slipped them on, then proceeded to lift the psicrystal free from its resting place. She tucked the crystal away into her bag carefully, then approached the alchemist bench.

After taking a cursory look over the brewed mixture, Sharon tapped her chin and mused to herself aloud.
"Poison. An odd thing for the illithid to dabble into. You weren't running just a simple ceremorphosis hideout, were you?" She looked up at the various brains in the jar, then back to the poison. "Not just any ordinary poison, I'd hazard a guess."

The woman gathered a few empty vials from her pouches and gathered up several samples of the poison, making sure to seal them up tightly. With a look of realization, Sharon looked to the nearest brain in the jar and frowned. "I wonder..." she murmured to herself, then slowly approached the shelves of brains, still holding one vial of the concoction. After a momentary pause, she dumped the contents of the poison in the jar, then waited to see the results.
Sharon Raynsford - Experienced adventurer finding renewed purpose beyond her prime.
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Bloodlines
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Ridga

Unfortunately no captain of any vessel was willing to allow Ridga onto their ship if she was seeking out the githyanki. The vessels that passed through the Dead God Rock were very much trying to avoid antagonizing the gith raiders, so even the promise of money was not enough. However, if she wanted to pay for a trip along one of the trade routes as a sellsword and was also willing to pay, that was a different matter entirely.

Sharon

Dumping the contents into the jar didn't appear to have any effect. If it was a poison, it was possible that she wouldn't see any immediate results on the dead tissue of the preserved brains.
Elena Blazhe - The Red Bard
Leyana - Fey of the Winter Court
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