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4.3 To Rend a Mountain

General Summary

This recap covers the Cradler's negotiations with the Loyal after their call home and the events that transpired atop Janokk, the Yetifolk Homeland.  

I Scratch Your Back...

As the image of Ibu Melati and the Shifters from Cradle faded from the pool's clear waters, Biggles, Vrinill, and Umeiri returned to their comrades.  Yawash and Nubush had been waiting patiently and were none the wiser to what was really going on. Both believed the little white lie that they were helping Umeiri with a special triton ritual.   However, their journey would not continue just yet. The Loyal wanted to have a private conversation with the three of them. It was time to get down to business; the Pools of Seeing were a gift from the Court, and if the Cradlers wanted more gifts like that, then negotiations needed to be made. Opening up the dialogue was the Loyal, who first proposed that the Court could help the Cradlers return to their home world if they in turn became agents of the Court of Heaven. They also pointed out that both sides had the same exact enemy - this 'Propagator.'   Our heroes had to take pause and deliberate on how they wanted to proceed. After all, pretty much all of SKRUNGUS including them were highly suspicious of the Court. But losing out on a way to get home? Especially as the Court proved that they have the resources to find a way?    So, in the spirit of creating a tentative alliance with the Court, the party agreed to trade information in exchange for information. The Loyal began, and asked if the party knew anything about the whereabouts of the Empty. The Cradlers, being oblivious to much of Tian Wu Yan's lore, didn't even know who the fuck she was. And then the Lover spilled some major tea (at least, for the party).    The Empty was always race-ambiguous, so the form she took was never consistent from story to story. However, in becoming a member of the Court, she acquired the powers of extradimensional movement and memory tampering magic. When the Loyal asked if that rung a bell, the Cradlers lied and said no. But they knew exactly who fit that description to a tee.   Luo Kai Ren.   With the Empty's question done with, the party had to talk about themselves. Mostly, they elaborated on Cradle and their run-in with the Propagator, and the Loyal was satisfied with the information they gleaned from that. At the end of the discussion, the Loyal proposed that the party could do a little favor for the Court for a nice reward, but they'd have to take some time to think about the nature of this task. They didn't want to lose the Cradlers' tenuous trust, afterall.  

Reflections of a Mountain

A Crown of Protection was recast over the expedition group, continuing to provide shelter from both the elements and the monsters roaming around. After leaving that horrible bog, the next major obstacle was Mizhdea's Corridor. If the orc Mizhdea were anything like her sister Torrbei, then that could lead to some big trouble. Thankfully, the valley they crossed was not only beautfiful, but serene in every way. No baddies, no giant orc ladies. Just a strange high-pitched noise in the night.   After weeks of traveling, Janokk was finally in sight. The snowy mountain range loomed over everyone, rendering each person speechless. Yawash and Nubush had prepped the party beforehand, letting them know that Janokk was more than just a mountain. It was alive, in every sense of the word, and it demanded respect above all else.   When the group took their first step onto Janokk, the yetifolk were right in that it was more than just a mountain. Apparently, it was two mountains. Indeed, a second Janokk loomed miles overhead, dominating the sky as an ethereal, translucent image. Upon closer inspection, the party realized that people were in the reflection, but it was not themselves. As the group moved forward, the reflection moved forward in time. After reaching a ruined village, the bustling village in the reflection hinted that this reflection of Janokk was replaying memories.   It was a trippy experience to say the least. Two particular memories caught their eye, however. One featured a red dragonborn contemplating on a cliffside before exiting through a portal. Another featured two eladrin from Cradle walking across the snow. Both visions were disturbing. One confirmed that Luo Kai Ren was the Empty and she was keeping so many secrets from SKRUNGUS. The other made clear that Biggles, Vrinill, Umeiri, and Bethany weren't the only Cradlers being transported to Tian Wu Yan. It was also clear that the four of them were lucky to have been taken to city-centers, but it was horrifyingly possible that they could have ended up on a fucking snowy mountain in the middle of nowhere.   As the party continued up the mountain, the Cradlers began to utilize the Empty's Transmission to its fullest potential and start sending letters back home. Letters that were just lightly accusatory of Kai Ren. Letters that featured the word 'Empty' so many times it was almost comedic. Letters, that, after a time, were not being reciprocated by Kai Ren. After a few of these exchanges, it became clear that Kai Ren, had disappeared. Her identity had been exposed, and that was somehow a cue for her to leave without a trace. Our heroes were left scratching their heads, but that mystery would have to be put on hold. Yetifolk needed to be saved.   After the letters, after the run in with the Abominable One (who was trounced easily thanks to the Loyal's Crown), the group made it to the Heart of Janokk, where the Passage of Duunsch was located. Waiting for the players inside this abandoned city were the corpses of two Izazatlan men, both of whom froze to death. To say the Cradlers were traumatized would be an understatement. But they had to shake it off and press forward. Salvation, perhaps, awaited.

A Sliver of Hope

Approaching the large stone doors to the Passage of Duunsch, the Loyal said their farewells and departed for the time being. They were going to convene with the rest of the Court and acquire a suitable task for the Cradlers to complete, and would also escort them all the way back to Fengqi. Now it was just the mortals (and an ex-god).    Prepared for the worst, the group walked into the passage, and it became obvious what the theme of this dungeon would be - reflections. The party was split in two, with Yawash and Vrinill on ones side, and Nubush, Biggles, and Umeiri on the other. Both reflected images of themselves onto the other side, and the subsequent puzzles made full use of that mechanic.   With every puzzle came a particular story about a particular facet of the Yetifolk's history. Going through the passage, the party learned more about the other major Yetifolk tribes. We had the hunters, the recorders, the ambassadors, the nurturers, and the snow walkers. Each had a particular specialization and important task to perform for their peoples, and that fact was highlighted in each of their respective puzzles and challenges.   Of particular note is that through these dungeon-mandated history lessons, the Cradlers gleaned that the Yetifolk were a highly influential species on Tian Wu Yan. Many other cultures learned about important techniques and technologies for everything from cooking to smithing. However, this golden age for the Yetifolk came to an abrupt end with the introduction of magic at the beginning of the Mystic era many centuries ago. The Yetifolk faded from prominence and kept to themselves as many of the other species of Tian Wu Yan advanced to new heights in the realms of magic and technology. The Chaos was the penultimate nail on the Yetifolk's coffin, and this expedition was one of their final opportunities to survive into the next century.   I must not forget about another event that transpired in the Duunsch! A new elemental portal was wreaking havoc in the snow-walkers challenge, and it spewed out a bunch of fiery spiders. Of course, they were no match for our heroes, with their hand water cannons and crowd control magic. The fire key was swiftly in their possession, which meant that of the elemental keys, only the air one remained.   Circling back to the Yetifolk storyline, the Duunsch was finally within the group's grasp, but what they found was disappointing. A recorded message stored in a memory box was all that remained in this sacred chamber at the end of the passage. In it, a tearful yetifolk by the name of Lojuom admitted to being the Empty and to being only able to salvage memories from the remains of the Chaos. The chieftains were heartbroken. All this work, all this hope, all this wishful thinking. For a box that said 'I'm sorry, there in nothing you can do.'   Umeiri, on the other hand, was having none of that. She called out to Janokk and demanded an answer from it. If this is where the yetifolk historically spoke to the mountain, then that meant the everyone was owed a conversation from Janokk. Sure enough, the mountain responded, summoning the shadowy silhouettes of dozens of yetifolk ancestors to act as its mouthpiece. Umeiri then gave the floor to Yawash and Nubush to make their case. And it worked.    In a way.   Janokk could not help the Yetifolk themselves, but they proposed an alternative. 'Rend Me', the mountain said. And with those words, the next step was illuminated. Rend the mountain. Release the energy stored in the bond between the mountain's two souls. With that amount of magic, maybe, just maybe, it would be enough to create more yetifolk and save an entire civilization.    The party had no other option but to believe in this solution, and so they vowed to enact their plan in due time. Preparations needed to be made, and that meant that their time in Janokk was done for now.   And on that note, the party left the Passage of Duunsch and got their ride home via the Loyal. The Loyal gave them a task, yes, but I feel that this recap can be ended here. On a good note.

Acquired Lore

  • The Empty's signature powers are the abilities to create and travel through extradimensionals spaces, and to manipulate memories
  • Luo Kai Ren is the Empty, and making that revelation known to her compelled her to disappear
  • While on Janokk, memories of past events are replayed on the reflection of the mountain above them
  • The portals that suck people up from Cradle and dump them in Tian Wu Yan can leave people stranded in the wilderness
  • The yetifolk are divided into several tribes, each specializing in a particular trade or skill
  • The yetifolk have a rich history and were once extraordinarily influential throughout Tian Wu Yan up until magic was introduced to the world during the Mystic Era
  • Janokk is alive, which means it has a mortal and divine soul, which means they can be rended, which means magic can be released from it that can enact miracles
Report Date
13 Apr 2022

Acquired Items

  • Wild herbs from Mizhdea's Corridor (yetifolk)
  • Letters from Kai Ren that leave the party 'empty' of all doubt as to who she really is
  • The fire key
  • Several rubbings and copies of yetifolk stories and legends
  • A weird memory box thing

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