The Lost Light

Session 02 - The Catacombs

The funeral for Andelu was a week long event, beginning with a feast on New Years Day and ending six days later with Andelu’s Eulogy. Our heroes spent this time reminiscing with old friends, keeping eyes on old enemies, and celebrating the life of one of the most revered of the deva monks.

Following the eulogy, the deva monks gather for a meeting to discuss what to do next. They invite our heroes, being that they are adventurers (a rare commodity in Khalin) and explain the situation to them: the long and short of it is, all of the deva had sectioned off a part of their essence and collected it in these orbs. Three of the deva, Kesher, Sereti and Pavlu, kept their orbs in the temple. But the other three, Aloni, Quinn and Andelu, hid theirs. Andelu’s was kept in his second home, while Aloni and Quinn hid theirs deep in secret pockets around the mountain. The deva ask our heroes to find the other two orbs and bring them back so that they may be reunited with their essence. No mention is made of why the deva, powerful as they are, do not go and retrieve them themselves, but the party knows of the deva’s irrational fear of death, and they agree to aid.

Brandis reunites with another dear friend to the temple: Corcus, a goliath and the first initiate of the temple. His lifespan stretched beyond that of a normal goliath, Corcus spends his days meditating, hoping that his long life is a testament to his eventual deification. He and Brandis share stories and reconnect, and Corcus promises to bring Brandis something to aid in his travels in the morning. That something turns out to be a carriage, a welcome addition to the party, as they can hook Christopher’s horse to it and ride past the zombie hordes.

Curiosity raised as to how the dragonborn knew about Andelu’s orb, our heroes eventually learn about a possible spy: Madur, a longtime enemy of Brandis’s. Madur appears to be drinking at the tiny ramshackle tavern constructed just inside the temple’s gates (though not officially part of the temple). Our heroes investigate.

Inside, they are met with a few patrons and six tieflings, one of them being Madur. They interrogate Madur, and he says nothing. Brandis then grabs Madur by the neck and thrusts him against the wall. Madur responds by stabbing Brandis in the side. A fight ensues, but it is over quickly — in a strange turn, Madur is killed by one of his own, and the others swiftly attempt to commit suicide. However, one of them is grabbed before he can stab himself, and our heroes hog tie the tiefling and drag him off to the temple proper.

The devas decide they will interrogate the tiefling — the party must rest in preparation for the trip around the mountain tomorrow.

The next morning, our heroes board their carriage and take off for a nearby catacomb dug into the mountain. Inside, they find the usual fare: zombies and skeletons. They fight their way through until they reach a skull lord in the final room of the catacomb. After a fight for their lives, they defeat the skull lord and obtain Quinn’s orb.

[DM’s note: i’m a little fuzzy about the specifics of this session, like how we decided to go after madur. also i need to not write these adventure logs when i’m really tired … :| ]

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Et Cetera 1 - Andelu's Eulogy

From Quinn’s journal

Like most days of reverence, it rained.

And not the drizzle of fog you might see in the Septech midlands, but the heavy, pelting rain that splashes against the cobblestones with an audible plunk. Thick gray clouds rolled overhead, threatening lightning, but none came. Just a downpour, like ghostly tears dropped from the Avandra’s eyes. A warm rain, tempered by the heat from the south, it nevertheless sent shivers down our spines as we all huddled around the casket of Andelu, one of our own.

As deva have no custom when it comes to funerals, we were forced to adapt and improvise. The casket was made of wood from Mercer’s Wood, sent upstream on the Mercereti and west on Lake Obtawoni, where we picked it up and hauled it on large carts for two days, battling the Lichlings the entire way. Two were killed as we traveled: young Brynn was too mischievous for her own good and was crushed by a falling tree. Our pleas for her to pay attention to her surroundings were met with silence, and now her life is met with silence. So it goes.

Aran Corsmouth fought bravely against a mummy leading a group of zombies. He killed the mummy but contracted mummy’s rot. We tried to heal him but something darker was taking hold, and he died and we were forced to burn him, lest he turn into the undead himself. Such is the work of the Lich Kings, dastardly and evil, making mockeries of our own friends and loved ones.

We deva are perhaps too cold when describing the death of mortals, but we are unaccustomed to death, and speak of it in a very natural sense. Meanwhile, the others deal with death in a way we find fascinating: they build caskets to contain their dead, or burn them on funeral pyres, or send them off to sea. Even with the essence gone, they treat their dead with a reverence unheard of in the deva world.

And so, on New Years Day, as the rain fell in torrents, we deva stood around the casket of Andelu while our Lost Light and our orphans, from now and from the past, huddled around us, some crying, some stoic, as Kesher spoke these solemn words, which I have lovingly accepted to transcribe on his behalf:

“We stand here today because of something once unheard of amongst my people — to honor the death of Andelu, the kindest and friendliest being I have met. When the gods reigned, Andelu’s death would have meant far less. He would have crumbled to dust, only to be reborn somewhere else. Over time he would regain as much of his past life as he needed, shunned the rest, and strived once again to become as perfect a being as possible.

“But now, that is not possible. Now his corpse lies here, unburdened, peaceful yet … dead. For the past thousand years, deva have been trying to fight this fear of death, this fear of permanence, from themselves. Andelu met it head on. His death will serve as a reminder, to both deva and to the other races of Khalin: we needn’t be afraid of death. This corporeal body is but one life our spirits will lead. In a way, being a deva is only a hindrance, keeping us from attaining this new life we were once incapable of leading. Andelu leads it now, his spirit lives in a world that has not seen our kind. I imagine he is excited about that.

“Despite the rain, this is not a time for mourning. This is a time for celebration, to celebrate Andelu’s life and the legacy he led. It is a time for all of us to come together and dance, sing, tell stories. Those of you who have been gone for quite a while may stay and remember your past, while those of you who still remain can listen to the stories of those who left, and make your own decisions on your future. This is the life that Andelu led, and it is the life he would want all of you to lead: one of adventure, of love, and of sacrifice for the good of all.

“I thank you for standing in the rain today. Now let us go inside and prepare dinner. Thank you.”

We could all tell that it was difficult for Kesher to speak sometimes. Occasionally it was emotion that overcame him, but other times it was merely a lack of knowledge of what to say, how to act, what to do… The service was wholly alien to him, and to me, and he had borrowed most of the service from human tradition, but still, it was fitting, and we all knew that Andelu would enjoy it.

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Session 01 - Andelu's Orb
"Hey, at least I had the balls to touch it."

(This week’s session was short, as a majority of the time was spent discussing character backgrounds and also eating pizza.)

Our tale begins as men and women from across Khalin descend, or rather, ascend, to the Temple of the Light, to participate in the funeral of one of the deva monks, Andelu. Andelu’s death is attributed merely to old age, though he is younger than Kesher, the eldest monk. Whatever the cause, everyone who has lived or lives in the Temple – from the orphans just eking out a living, to those chosen to be the Lost Light – knew Andelu to be the friendliest of the monks, continually giving his time and energy to the children of the temple, as well as aiding the villages attempting a life at the base of Mount Patarch.

One particular village, known as Tirber, was a frequent stop for Andelu as he made his way around the winding paths of the mountain. He helped build the strong stone wall that surrounds the meager assortment of buildings. One particular building, an ancient chapel from the days of the gods, still stands, a testament to ancient building rituals and masonry. Andelu would spend spring there, teaching the young primal acolytes the proper ways to revere the nature spirits surrounding them.

Of all the Lost Light, three stand out: Brandis, a young sailor sorcerer from Abaerd, continually on the hunt for the red dragon he is meant to slay; Christopher, a swordmage who was given to the Temple from birth by his parents, upper class members of the Goodstone Council until their death; and Victober, a changeling rogue whose time with the Temple began when he quite literally fell (through the roof) into their lap. Each is a Lost Light, chosen as a child as the next gods, and each has responded in their own way. But, more importantly, they have trained themselves in the arts of heroes, something all but lost in the chaotic realm of Khalin.

On the eve of Andelu’s funeral, Kesher politely asks our heroes to retrieve a special box of Andelu’s in his basement room in the chapel in Tirber. Victober, always the opportunist, requests an adventurer’s kit (he must’ve left his old one somewhere), and Kesher reluctantly accepts. Before long, the three of them, accompanied by their three friends, descend the mountain for Tirber.

However, before they even reach the stone wall they notice a plume of smoke coming from the village. As they race to Tirber they find it in ruins: the stone wall has been breached, the buildings are burnt and smoldering and even the bell tower on the chapel has been knocked down. Burnt, stabbed, and clawed bodies lie everywhere. Brandis recognizes the claws as that of draconic creatures.

Before they can reach the chapel, they are besieged by a wandering zombie horde (a common occurrence in Khalin). They quickly dispatch the zombies before they can raise the dead villagers to become a part of their group, and enter the chapel.

Inside, a troop of kobolds are waiting for them! The group again makes quick work of them, save for one, which escapes down the stairs into the basement. At one point during the battle, Victober changes himself to look like a dragonborn (albeit a short dragonborn), in an effort to confuse the kobolds, but to no avail.

Downstairs, the group is faced with one dragonborn, and the little kobold. Victober, still in his dragonborn form, stands at the front of the party, while Brandis, hooded, face unseen, speaks for him. They try to convince the real dragonborn that they had destroyed the intruders who entered the chapel. The dragonborn decides to humor them briefly before demanding their papers. Brandis secrets a blank piece to Victober, but by this point it is too late. Their battle with the dragonborn is swift, and he is brought down.

The little kobold pleads for its life, and the party attempts to discern what is going on, but he doesn’t have much info. Brandis quickly executes the kobold with an acid orb to the face.

In Andelu’s room, they find a small locked wooden box and a magical sword. They debate over whether or not to open the box, and Brandis’s curiosity overtakes him and he breaks the lock with an acid spell [note to self: next time, make him roll for it. :P -Josh]. Inside is a glass orb sitting on a velvet pillow, not unlike a crystal ball. However, in the orb is a swirling blue energy, which also gives off a dim aura around the sphere itself.

Christopher decides to touch the orb. Suddenly he is filled with some kind of energy. It feels like someone is with him — not like a ghost inhabiting a body, but more like … memories, energy, feelings, emotion. The blue dissipated from the orb, and it was mere glass once again.

Upon bringing the blueless orb back to Kesher, our heroes learn that the orb was full of a portion of Andelu’s essence — an experiment designed by the deva monks to prolong their lives, even in this godless world. It apparently did not work, and they had plans to display the orb alongside Andelu’s casket. Kesher asks Christopher if he may gain the essence back, but Christopher argues to keep it. On top of giving him a boost in his abilities, it also serves as one last quest for Andelu, who loved to travel and help others. Kesher agrees, glad to see Andelu’s spirit, or at least a part of it, continue on his adventures.

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