Celidor

Titania's Gift

The party battles a rakshasa and several guards at the warehouse. The rakshasa gives in, telling them that they can have Titania’s gift, which is in an enormous crate. They find an image that can duplicate people inside of the crate. Guidsmar takes it to Hellstrike.

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Liberating Eridell, Saving Celidor

Eridell is desolate, evacuated. Nezumi have taken over Kaz’s keep. The party defeats the water dragon and Kyle makes a map of one of the nezumi’s skin. It shows treasure inside Kaz’s keep. While Kaz tries to round up survivors, Kyle slips a pamphlet into the treasure room and sees a fat nezumi lord with a huge pile of the accumulated treasure of the surrounding populace: silverware, cheap jewelry, works of art. He also sees two prisoners in cells at the back of the room, a fetchling and a tengu. The party invades the room, but Kyle is killed in battle. They convince the nezumi lord that his land has been saved, the blight is gone, and that he should return to his people to get them out of Celidor.

Soku, the fetchling, tells the party that Ayaki is back without the Autarch and is spouting gibberish. Varin and Marle have taken him into custody and people are grumbling. They haven’t even sent for Hellstrike or the Council, saying that Marle is the best healer around.

They rush to Varin, who won’t let them see Ayaki. He will, however, allow the six-legged cat to be sent to his room to soothe him. It seems that cats are among the gibberish, and the only topic that seems to bring the fevered Ayaki relief. The rest is all corners and tentacles and the wrongness of everything.

Outside, they run into the naked Tryst, who has just been mugged after attending an underground fighting match. Soku and Xena recognize him as a fellow member of the Burning Branch. Xena finds out where the fighting ring muggers are headquartered, a warehouse by the docks.

Guidsmar prepares for a party that evening to celebrate the (once again) saving of Celidor.

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Titania's Party

Titania invites everyone in and they see Marle there. When they attempt to question Varin’s fiancee, Titania tells them that her guests are not to be interrogated. Titania and Guidsmar dispute the morality of engaging the children as servants, but she eventually lets them go after he sways them with treats and alligator rides.

They find out that Titania hates Lilith and will do anything to kill her, except go to Hell. The party should find a way to drag her into the open so that Titania can take her down.

The party has mixed opinions about this plan, and leaves with the children. Time has moved quickly while they were underground, and a water dragon has descended on Eridell.

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Elendria's End

The sound of vanara corpses dropping onto the deck of Mielikki’s Pride brings Kyle out of his reverie and Xena out of her quarters where she’s been crippled by seasickness. Elendria helms the frigate past the ships of undead, destroying one. They make their way back to Hellstrike in a day as she finds favorable winds. Guidsmar sends word to the vanara that the undead blight has been stopped.

They rush to Hellstrike, where Nellene gives Guidsmar a pass to see Agnur, the half-orc priest of the Raven Queen that sits on the Council. Agnur pales at the sight of the book and insists that they must destroy it right away. As he warns them that someone will come looking for it, Kyle trips across the room, stabbing himself with his rapier, screaming about a ghost in the wall. An enormous, headless undead coalesces out of a corner. Guidsmar summons an acid pit at its feet and they rain arrows on it until its body and possessions melt in the acid.

They retire into the next room, where Agnur performs the ritual. Elendria expires peacefully and the book is reduced to a black, scorched mark on the stone floor. Just then, a messenger child from Varin’s court arrives with a message for Elendria. Seeing her dead, he gasps and runs away,

Kyle turns Elendria’s body to a skeleton and starts grinding it into bonemeal, explaining to the dumbstruck Agnur that he’s performing a holy ritual. Guidsmar returns to Mielikki’s Pride and gathers the corpses of Kaz and the vanara so that Agnur can revive them. When he returns, Varin is bawling over Elendria’s remaining bones. Kyle gives Varin Elendria’s remains.

Guidsmar sends the vanara back to their people. He returns to his manse to find that children have been disappearing in Drunksmede, and that he (along with the other men) is invited to Varin’s bachelor party in three days. He gets more information on the missing children from his steward, and buys himself a fancy cloak worth 1000 gp that’s a deep black velvet covered in birds created from gems.

Elendria’s second in command, Franc, is promoted to baron by Varin as he feels this is what Elendria would have wanted.

Kaz discovers that Eridell is being approached by a nezumi water dragon.

Ruinier starts a hunters guild in the forest outside of Hellstrike. This grants him an income of 1000 gp per month.

Varin offers Xena audience to discuss her reward. Xena politely declines Marle’s invitation to her bridal shower.

Kyle goes to the city center and starts prophecying doom compellingly. A wasp comes to his shoulder and whispers that although he is doing quite a good job, his efforts are unsanctioned. It invites him to the spire for a meeting with Olina, the head priestess of Kalistria on the Council. They discuss his visions and conversion, and he is inducted into the council, provided with a badge, and directed to stamp out and report any acts of necromancy.

At Varin’s bachelor party, Guidsmar goads the guest of honor about Elendria and hooks up with a couple of dancing girls. Franc friendlies up with Nestor, until the old troublemaker works with Kyle to convince Varin to go upstairs with another dancing girl. Franc and Ruinier try unsuccessfully to intercede. They discover that Varin is giving Blackshore, Lorune’s old barony, to Marle, and that most of the other barons and exarchs are questioning his authority to do so. Franc’s succession is also questioned, but with less animosity. There are also questions about Marle’s background; no one seems to know who she is or where she came from.

After the party, the group hastens to Drunksmede. In the meantime, the water dragon god has reached Eridell. They visit the bodies of water near which the children have disappeared. The first, a deep well, has a secret magic door at the bottom. The next, a waterfall over a small pool, has a door much closer to the surface. They don’t visit the third, a deep swimming hole.

Kyle sends an image of himself through the secret door, through which he sees a long, winding passage to an enormous kitchen with walls of pure gemstone. Every race seems to be working the kitchen, each the most beautiful of its kind. They are guarded by nixies. Beautiful children seem to be acting as servers; they pass unhindered through a curtain of shimmering light that blocks passage to the next room. Kyle turns invisible, then leaves an image of himself on the ground near the curtain, which is retrieved by an elf woman who puts it in her apron pocket before returning to work.

Guidsmar confronts the nixie guards, who tell them they haven’t been invited to this party. Kaz recognizes the chocolates as those carried by Dinwiddie, and calls out to Guidsmar. The nixies are handily defeated in the ensuing battle.

The curtain splits in the center, and they see an incredibly gorgeous nixie woman who tells them that no one crashes Titania’s party.

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By the Skin of their Teeth

Mr. Buttons takes on Lucien, but is dispatched in a fiery display while trying to make a run for it with the book. Lucien’s undead ravens retrieve Mr. Buttons’ body and the book from the sea while the undead remaining on the boat scramble into unlifeboats. The rest of the party, seeing his incendiary demise, race away.

They return to Mossport, where they meet an elf archer named Ruinier. He joins them as they search for a warship to commandeer. They find one moored nearby, and approach its stern in their folding boat. The undead guarding the frigate put up a vicious battle but are eventually defeated.

Fearing an oncoming attack by the vanara if they fail their mission, the party heads back out to sea. The magical map now shows the book as being kept on a small island labeled as The Carbuncle on their map. Canons from the frigate, now named Mielikki’s Pride, blast the island’s beaches, strewing undead parts and splintering the trees.

The adventurers take the folding boat to the shore, where they are set upon by undead archers and Lucien himself. Lucien slaughters everyone except Guidsmar and Ruinier. Hundreds of mechanical birds appear to take the dead and dying back to Mielikki’s Pride. Guidsmar, invisible, finds a node and transcribes its particular patterns. Ruinier hears voices coming from the volcano on the island and retrieves the foul tome. He screams for Guidsmar and high tails it for the ship. Guidsmar follows on a summoned hawk.

As the party sails away, they recognize several of Lilith’s lilin, as well as Etzal, the satyr from hell.

Elendria’s dreams of a peaceful afterlife are shattered when Mielikki sends her back to finish the mission of destroying the book.

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The Gang Gets Back Together

Elendria awakes at the Garuda’s after a two-day hangover, straps the hallucinating Kyle (who found Garuda’s store of magic mushrooms) to the back of Stampy, and gets herself teleported by the Garuda back to Hellstrike.

She immediately runs to Varin, who grants her audience. He’s with Marle in the aviary. Marle politely leaves, and Varin explains that although Elendria is a wonderful gal, she just wasn’t the one. Elendria senses that Varin and Marle genuinely care for one another, although Marle seems to have ulterior motives. She wishes them the best and leaves. On her way out, she’s pestered by Nestor, who raves about Marle’s beauty and kindness, and mentions that no one seems to know much about her family or background.

Meanwhile, Xena approaches the group. She and Mr. Buttons are both members of the Blazing Branch, and recognize one another. The rest of the group remembers her usefulness during the battles in Hell. She joins Guidsmar, Mr. Buttons and Kaz in heading to the Vanara headquarters a day’s ride south of Hellstrike.

Guidsmar gets audience with the head of this company of vanara, Ythis. Ythis is convinced that the party can help the vanara gain their land back, so he agrees not to attack the sphinx for now. He also sends for powerful warriors from the neighboring cells, gathering a couple more vanara (Bethas and Ajuz) to join the team.

Elendria meets the team on the way to Mossport to set sail toward the point marked on Guidsmar and Kyle’s maps. They discover that Mossport has been swallowed by the mist. Guidsmar passes out spectacles, and a familiar mechanical bird drops off a folding boat. Everyone gets on the small ship and heads deep into the ocean, where they fight a poisoned whale that becomes undead once defeated.

The party spies an armada of ships packed with undead. Mr. Buttons uses his ring of invisibility and a potion of hide from undead to sneak on board the largest ship. He easily finds the book, as well as Lucien, the midget halfling albino that they once had killed. Lucien is now undead, and is standing over a living mage reading the book. Mr. Buttons attempts to scratch them both with poison. He instantly becomes visible, the poison has no affect on Lucien, and the mage passes out.

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Sneaky Monkeys

Kaz, Guidsmar and Mr. Buttons rest at the Garuda’s for the night. The next morning, they return to the node and Guidsmar attempts to transport them to Hellstrike. He is absurdly successful, landing them in the forest a few hours from their destination. Unfortunately, a guardian awaits them. A sphinx threatens to devour them if they fail to solve its riddle. Mr. Buttons and Kaz fail, but Guidsmar guesses the answer and convinces the sphinx to grant them access to the node on their quest to keep the nezumi and vanara invasions at bay. The party agrees to patrol the area before they continue on to Hellstrike.

While scouting, the party spots a group of farmers with a load of cabbages in a cart. Mr. Buttons uses his ring of invisibility to approach, and discovers weapons beneath the cabbages when he sabotages the cart. When he overhears them discussing an attack on the sphinx, the party attacks. During the ensuing battle, Guidsmar sees through their illusions and discovers that they are vanara.

The party leaves two vanara alive, Suspenders the cleric and Jackalope the rogue. These two tell the party that an evil rain is blighting their homeland, and that they’re plagued by undead. Thus, they and the nezumi (whom the vanara seem to despise) are attempting to bring their myriad gods to Celidor. They warn of a larger raiding party that will come in a week.

The raccoon folk contact Guidsmar with news that Titania wants a monopoly on their chocolate, for which they charge 100 platinum pieces per piece. The capricious gnome suddenly ends the conversation.

Sparkles watches the vanara as Guidsmar consults with Hellstrike. At Nellene‘s suggestion, he works with the librarian to create a map that shows the location of the book that is summoning the great old god behind the blight and undead. The map points to the same location as Kyle’s treasure map from the flayed nezumi sorcerer—a point on the ocean to the west.

Meanwhile, Mr. Buttons seeks training for his smilodon and Kaz finds out more about Ksarral. Ksarral failed to protect a town whose name is lost to history. A hydra defeated him and devoured the village. His fancy katana was of no use to him.

In the morning, Jackalope attempts to steal Mr. Button’s ring of invisibility and the cat man kills him outright.

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Where's the Party

The Garuda leads the party to the node of ley lines, where Guidsmar throws a rock at a smooth stone with a marred inscription chiseled into it. This transports the party to another part of the swamp. They run into a group of talking raccoons that need help delivering chocolate to Titania’s party. The nezumi are using another swamp node that the raccoons need to travel through.

The party stumbles onto a handful of nezumi at the next node. They slay the nezumi, as well as the water dragon that coalesces above the node. The raccoons pass out shinies and send the party back to the Garuda, after Guidsmar gives their leader a silver raven for communicating the details of future trade deals.

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Gravedigging

Kaz and Mr. buttons quickly tire of speaking to the Garuda upon realizing they didn’t have the knowledge to discover why the nezumi would attack the intersection of ley lines that the bird man had been guarding uneventfully for eons. Their ears perk up at the mention of Ksarral, a samurai who had previously guarded this location and failed, though honorably. He was buried with his mighty katana not far away.

At the barrow, they hear a low, loud rumbling from a smilodon. Mr. Buttons senses that it is only on the hunt due to an injury, and chases it off while Kaz pushes down the door to the barrow. This releases cerberi guardians that are narrowly dispatched. Kaz and Mr. Buttons retrieve the katana and then follow a bloody trail to the smilodon nursing its wounds in the undergrowth. Mr. Buttons administers healing potions and comfort until the beast is willing to accompany them back to the garuda’s.

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A Brutal Engagement

Varin is distressed. The autarch is missing or in hiding. Nezumi and vanara are attacking random sites across Celidor, many under guard by fell monsters. Kirinus, a tactician who could help him, was exiled to Gravelspur by Sarkus. And, as reported by a cat folk scout introduced to the party as Mr. Buttons, the purple mist—now churning with undead—is on the move, Joran and Ambrenna are dead, and the foul book is missing.

However, Varin is pleased to announce his engagement to Marle, a half-elf nurse who cared for his injuries in the week Elendria was gone.

Elendria’s attempts for a word with Varin rebuffed, she leads the party to Mossport in a rage. On the way, she jumps a party of nezumi, allowing one to escape. In Mossport, she falls into a drunken stupor.

Guidsmar provides entertainment and cake to the children of Mossport. A familiar mechanical bird warns him of great danger surrounding the attacks by nezumi and vanara, then directs Guidsmar to a meeting with the old man. The old man provides a dozen assorted pairs of Purple-Lensed Spectacles.

Meanwhile, Kyle becomes court musician with a $2400/month stipend. He creates a treasure map from the skin of a defeated nezumi spell caster that points to great treasure on the ocean to the west. He befriends the six-legged cat and arranges for transportation to the lyrene islands.

Mr. Buttons joins the group, performing a daring rescue of Elendria when her drunken rage leads her back toward hellstrike to confront Varin and Marle—and straight into a kidnapping by nezumi. The nezumi take her to a battle with a garuda, which the party assists in wiping the nezumi out.

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