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Adventure Three, Session Nineteen

INT. THE HALFMOON INN - NIGHT   When we last left our heroes, they had narrowly evaded a potentially dangerous confrontation with an ogre named Grinfel, who wrongly associated the party as companions of his own nemesis, the mind flayer Kharthlaxi. Kharthlaxi himself had disappeared, vanished into thin air, and moments before things turned violent, Grinfel too disappeared... just like that!   The party, tired and still somewhat confused by what had just transpired, decided to get a good night's rest, but as they returned to their rooms, they discovered a note tacked to one of their doors...   "Meet me at the South End ant Noon..."   It wasn't signed, but there was no doubt that it came from the strange illithid who'd done everything in his power to befriend the (rightfully) suspicious PCs.   The next morning, the party regrouped over breakfast and, having a few hours to kill, decided to check out a few shops in town. Shortly before they left, however, they took note of a table of four furry creatures, humanoid in stance, and roughly the same height as Tesken. They didn't think too much of it, at the time...     EXT. BAZAAR, SEVEN PILLARED HALL - DAY   Their first stop was the venerated statue that marked the legacy of the city... A giant, bronzed minotaur - his arms reaching for the sky. This larger than life effigy was also surrounded on three sides by a series of "to scale" (accurate sized) minotaurs also cast in bronze. The party was able to piece together some of the history of Suurunae (the city in which The Seven Pillared Hall resided). It existed, in its prime, during the Age of Lumeria, when the city of minotaurs served as a vassal state to the Methanok Empire.   The party also remembered that Methanok supposedly fell shortly after a botched attempt to conquer the largest of the free cities, Meeros Tilva. The account of this may be researched at... Aar Tethlan & the Fall of Methanok. When leaving the statue, they noticed that the four furry, blue-grey humanoids from the inn seemed to be following them. They walked over, en masse, to confront the towering beasts.   The creatures feigned innocence at first, but finally divulged that they were in league with Grinfel, who apparently wasn't disintegrated but merely teleported to the outskirts of the city. The creatures warned the party to not stand in their way, and demanded they "give up" Kharthlaxi to them. The party, having no actual loyalty to the mind flayer, revealed that they were to meet him at noon. Then, having second thoughts about divulging this information, they quickly extricated themselves from the conversation. The creatures managed to get in one or two more semi-veiled threats, but the party managed to leave without entering a fight.   Next, the party made their way over to a curio shop run by a flamboyant qualenti elf named Gendar. The drow wore extravagant clothes of brightly colored silk, wore a glittering head wrap (bandana), and had a bejeweled eye patch over his right eye. The party got down to haggling and sold a few items (their poisoned "assassin daggers" - which Gendar noted are illegal to possess), and purchased a few (some magic, such as a Rope of Mending, a set of Boots of False Tracks, something called a "Clockwork Amulet," some silvered and iron arrows, and the Great Axe of the city guards -- also contraband). Gendar further noted that the Great Axe, whcih he sold to Tesken, formerly belonged to a member of the Bronze Warders. It turns out those "to scale" minotaur statues they came across were actually animated automatons, tasked with patrolling the city. They must have been "at rest," but they each carried an axe similar to Tesken's latest acquisition.   Around the time they finished haggling, the party realized it was nearly noon. But their cryptic note mentioned the South Side, and the party determined this could mean one of two possible places/exits. The party decided to split up in two groups. Mangy and Sendry would head to the southwest exit, while Guy and Tesken decided to head to the southeast one. It should be noted that the remainder of the party chose to hang back at the tavern, or order to watch over the inheritrix.   As noon rolled around, the group at the southwest exit found themselves standing around and waiting. The two that took the eastern path, however, were soon approached by a very young (likely six years old) beggar girl. After pleading for alms, she quickly changed her tune and let Guy and Tesken know that she was sent by Kharthlaxi, in order to bring them to him. The two followed the little girl to a tavern not far away.   The tavern had two floors, with the top being a few rooms to rent. The girl pointed out a room on the top floor and the two PCs approached its door. The little girl knocked to announce her arrival, then opened the door, revealing a dimly lit room within. It was sparse and dirty, but in the back of the room stood Kharthlaxi. The two entered in order to speak with the mind flayer, who asked them to close the door behind them.   Back on the southwest side, Mangy and Sendry decided they picked the wrong path and headed towards the other south exit. Once there, they too were found by the little girl (who insisted that she had "no name" and if she did have one it would be "unimportant") who led them to the tavern as well.   Shortly after, the party was reunited and Kharthlaxi began to explain himself...   Apparently he knew about the inheritrix because essentially everyone of importance knew. He told the PCs that the official word was Naiya had been kidnapped, and there was a 8,000 gold piece bounty out for both her safe return and the eradication of the bandits who took her.   But that alone wouldn't be enough to lure the mind flayer to Suruunae. No, he explained that another powerful creature in the Wet Dark, an abomination from the terrible city of Obloxis Azuun, was searching for Naiya. He wished to ingratiate himself to the Lentokki forces planning a raid on the west. Apparently many evil forces in the Wet Dark were likewise attempting to ally themselves with the Lentokki conquerers-to-be. For some reason, Naiya would be the ultimate prize to present them. The party surmised that this might have to do with The Tapestry of Meeros Tilva, and that perhaps the God Emperor of Methanok himself may be trapped within the weave. A powerful force just waiting to be released.   Kharthlaxi apparently used to work for the evil entity in Obloxis Azuun, and he betrayed the abomination to free a group of slaves, pinning the release on several Quaggoths (the four furry creatures who followed the PCs), along with Grinfel. They all worked for the abomination. Now they were searching for the mind flayer to enact revenge.   Kharthlaxi desired to travel with the PCs, so he could lead them "safely" through the Wet Dark (Underdark) to the exit near Gloranthias. He wished for nothing in return. He knew how disastrous it would be if those in Oblixis Azuun (or any force in the Underdark) were to gain possession of the inheritrix.   The party begrudgingly agreed to trust the mind flayer... for now. They asked if he had a plan. Kharthlaxi explained that once they got out of town, he would unfortunately have to lead them through Obloxis Azuun, and he thought their best option would be for the PCs to pose as his "slaves," while for his part, Kharthlaxi would hide his specific identity and simply pose as an illithid slaver. The PCs were naturally uncomfortable with the notion of being bound and led by a potential traitor, so Kharthlaxi proposed a second option. They could flip the script, with the party pretending to be adventurers who captured the (wanted) mind flayer in order to return him to the abomination of Obloxis Azuun.   In the end, they decided to table that specific decision until they got out of town. The PCs told Kharthlaxi to wait here while they returned to the Halfmoon Inn to collect the rest of their group....   They barely made it out the front door...   Immediately upon exiting Kharthlaxi's room, they were jumped! Taken surprise by the four Quaggoths who'd been following them. A battle quickly ensued, with the PC's causing significant injury to the furry beasts. However, before any of them could land a killing blow, a BRIGHT LIGHT emitted from a tower at the far end of the city. The light hit the ground just before the party. It was also accompanied by a screeching SIREN of sorts. Both light and sound heralded the dramatic arrival of a tall woman dressed entirely in gold (including gold face mask). This was the feared Ordinator Arcanis.   The Ordinator immediately demanded that everyone drop their weapons. Most of the PCs complied, but Sendry managed to first deliver a killing blow to one of the Quaggoths. In response, the Ordinator hit him with a beam of light that froze him in place. A moment later the remaining Quaggoths made a break for it, attempting to flee the scene. This time, the Ordinator went further. With a flick of her wrist and a pointing of her finger, the three creatures burst into a quick flash of flame and were incinerated.   Her abilities now firmly established, the Ordinator demanded that the PCs accompany her to the Mages Tower (from whence the light originally emitted), as one there wished to have a word with them. After a bit of Sendry trying to escape (in vain), the PC's complied. By this time, a group of minotaur like Bronze Warders had arrived to assist the Ordinator.   The Ordinator released Grinfel, telling the ogre to not show his face around here again. After that, she led the PCs away...   The party was marched to the tower, not in chains, but also not of their own choosing. Once past the great bronze double doors of the tower, they were quickly greeted by a friendly looking human in golden robes named Paldemar. He was apparently one of the three mages who ruled Saruunae. Where the other two were, was completely unknown. He quickly got down to business and explained that he'd free the PCs -- and give them an 8,000 gold piece reward -- for simply telling him why Kharthlaxi was so intent on traveling with them.   He even knew where the mind flayer was hiding. All he wanted was their knowledge of the inheritrix and their mission. At least that's what they surmised. The party vehemently denied having such knowledge, feigning ignorance. They went back-and -forth on the matter with Paldemar for some time, after which the mage proclaimed that he had things to attend to and would give them "time to think..." In his dungeon, it seemed.   The party, not having many other options, went peacefully and were led downstairs to a long, stone, windowless room containing six cells (3 lining each of the east-west walls). They were tossed into one of the western cells together, after which the guards (Bronze Warders) left them to their thoughts.   The only other prisoners down here consisted of a dirty, emaciated man with a wild look on his face (in the cell directly across the hall from them), and a small, spherical construct with one giant eye taking up a large part of its round body. It also featured a pair of spindly arms and legs, and two tiny (possibly vestigal) feathered wings. It seemed to perhaps be something like a Modron from the plane of Mechanus.   The party set about trying to figure out an escape plan. They quickly discovered that beyond the bars, the cells were sealed off with some sort of magical energy field. In the process, the deranged man across the hall began shouting at them, and eventually flung his own excrement at them (which was fortunately stopped by the invisible barrier). However, the party realized that because the man could fling something through his set of bars, that only their side of the room (the three cells on the western wall) was surrounded by a force field.   Using the Gem of Seeing, they also determined that the barrier on their side only clung to the other cell wall, and the two far sides. Above, below and behind there was no barrier. There was also no barrier between their cell and the modron's. None other than the steel bars, that is.   They watched as the tiny modron walked in circles within its cell, muttering a series of numbers to itself. Feeling that this little creature may be of some assistance, Sendry hit the bars between their two cells with his Rust Powder, which quickly disintegrated them. The modron came to meet them on their side, revealing that his name was 4959053 (or "Fourry" for short). Unfortunately, though nice, the modron wasn't of much help towards their escape plan.   Sendry began digging under the bars at the front cage door, and they were able to squeeze a rope thorugh, so obviously the barrier didn't extend past the paving stones of the floor. However digging out this way would likely take more time than they had.   Mangy, for his part, had a crazy idea. He decided to take a dose of The Grey Pith, lending greater potency to his spells. He then hit the ceiling with a Thunder Wave, which sent a shower of powdered rock down upon them. Though he didn't break through completely, he significantly weakened the ceiling (and narrowly avoided being crushed by falling rocks) and even bore a tiny hole through it completely!   An eye quickly manifested over the hole. An eye which Sendry quickly jumped up and poked. Unfortunately it belonged to one of the automaton minotaurs, and essentially did no damage.   Guy shot a few Magic Missiles at the ceiling, further weakening it. How much more could it take before it collapsed???   The party was left to figure out what to do next, hopefully not having alerted anyone in power to their escape plan. I suppose we shall see...  

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