Prologue: Gates of Stone
CHAPTER FOUR:

Independence Day - Aftermath
Cuthberta Eoselunday

Summary of the Companions' conversation with Woden & Grist


“If it is not the Companions of the Mysterious Missive. I might have known.”

To Thalazzar
“Thalazzar?” a look of surprise, then it's gone. “Hmmm,” He looks at him then at the others and then speaks in Draconic...

To Tiberio
He looks at him then looks at the lyre, then back at him, “Nice lyre.”

To Nimbus
He stares at him long and hard - something has unnerved him, he does not seem a man who unnerves easily.
He avoids Nimbus as best he can throughout the ensuing barrage of questions.

To Arek
“You were a Claimer. An inductee, I imagine, or else very stealthy. As an impartial outsider, allow me to offer some advice, you ex-Claimer-to-be. You and your companions ought to leave Riot's Gate for a time lest you want another interview with the Unspoken. After today, I don't imagine it would be as cordial as your last.”

• It was the Claimers' zealous pursuit of their Dwarven heritage that has shaken the world this day - and, perhaps, much, much more. They were manipulated, to be sure, but by whom… ? For now, it matters little, for many now that still live could learn to curse the name of the Claimers after this day. 'Tis a shame. They were reckless, but recklessness, after all, is what makes us all," he smiles "Human."
• "Who do you serve, ex-Claimer-to-be, the Maddock or the Federation?" He waits for Arek to answer...
• "The Claimers will need to be rebuilt if either is to survive. How, exactly, is up to you. I think this is best in your safekeeping. You are, after all, one of the last."

He gives Arek Unity, The Steel Stone Maddock of the Claimers - it was said to have been forged by Moradin himself, specifically for the purpose of recapturing Axes Bithat from the Steel Dwarves. It is the mark of Office for the head of the Order… “Moradin give you wisdom in how you use it. Right now, you are the Claimers.”

To Domaldi
“The Keeper's son. You're father was an ex-slave, was he not? A Janissary of the One?
“What do you know of Jamhyria Theona'la? The Monotheocrate Order?” He awaits answers...
“You may soon know much more…”

And finally, to Frankie
“You're the Tinker who arrived with Professor Corrumbley… We need your help…”


“There are some things you need to know, and I have very little time…”

THE OTHER SIDE OF ANUPKHAZ

There are great seals blocking the lower depths of Axes Bithtat… left there by the mysterious Stone Druids when they abandoned their Steel Dwarf allies… There was a reason that the Dwarves simply did not open them before…

We were surprised by what was found on the other side... An army of Orcs and Bugbears, Flind and Hobgoblins… commanded by Feraln Elves and worse (at least one Illithid). It appeared they were amassing a force to launch an invasion. We were lucky to stop them when we did. They were armed with something I believe few have seen before… except perchance you, young Tinker…

There was a one way gate on the other side. It was ancient. With glyphs in Drüüg. It would only appear when activated from the other side. It closed when the magic ran out…

The Claimers obstinacy may have saved the Federation from this invasion, but because they broke the Seal and unleashed the Watchers, few will see that now…

All of the Claimers who managed to get the Seal open were killed, including the Head of the former Order. The rebel Claimers fought alongside their old allies one last time, including Mnemonium, Woden, an Elven Wizard, Sadore, and a handful of elite soldiers and Unspoken. The defenders were vastly outnumbered, but Woden, Sadore and Mnemonoium made the difference, despite the Brutes' greater numbers and technology.

“The lack of magic did not help...”

ON THE MAGIC SHUTDOWN

• The Ley Lines have all collapsed - as though they have been drained completely of energy.
• Only a handful of potions will still work, though I do not know for how long. Most magic items will not.
• Most spells will not, regardless of how the caster draws upon the source, will not work either. Whether through Bardsong or through a Divine vessel, all magic comes from the same source, and that source is dry.

“I have never seen anything like it. Not even the last time this happened...”

ON THE NEPHILIM

“They are called Nephilim. They are ancient, nearly beyond legend, as is their battle. It was not always so, but I suspect that these were all servants of the One. I suspect we battled the weakest here while the strongest escaped.”

They probably drew their power from the One, just as I was able to draw some power from them.
(feats: Channel Magic + Ebb Magic)

Forty years ago, when the first Stone Druid Seal was opened, something similar happened… only then, only one of each Nephilim was released… and the Magic, never fully disrupted, was more or less restored after a day, though it remained unstable for a full month.

In battles similar to that witnessed in the Dock Ward, the Nephilim laid waste to much of the Fells and a Portion of Axes Bithtat's outer towers. Many are dead, many more are wounded.

ON THE ONE

“He is Large.”

• It is a force like no other god, it is something more like the Vile or the Valiant, but still very much unlike them as well.
• There is no greater threat to the Federation, or any of us for that matter, than the One.

THE REMAINS OF THE DAY

The Sacred Ward is a ruin and the Levitation Tram was a death warrant...

The fires are still raging in the Sacred Ward. The Temple High Command of Heironeous was destroyed when the tower of Axis Bithtat fell. The Temple of St. Cuthbert was also destroyed. The High Commander of Heironeous was killed - Yeoman Canchari, is dead.

Of the Government, only Vice Chancellor de la Espada, the War Authority and the Finance Authority escaped death...
The Lord Mayor is dead, as are most Aldermen, several senators, representatives, and members of the Council of Races, several Ambassadors, and the entire Orindish Royal family, save the Crown Prince, 17 year old Mahgnus Mór.

“The Claimers have accomplished in the space of moments what Gallantine could not have done in a generation.”

ON TALLIM

• She has been missing nearly a tenday
• She an illegitimate daughter of the now late Queen of Orindo. Her father was a Gallantish slave. Woden protected her in court
• The Owl is Tyconderoga, Tallim's Familiar
• Ty showed up two days ago, the day of the dream
• We have learened that Tallim is alive, and she is inside the Order, moving slowly southward

GRIST'S & TALLIM'S ABDUCTION

• Woden does not know why Tallim was abducted. At first he thought her lineage had been discovered, but suspicion did not fall on him, so he no longer believes this to be so…
• The abduction was a professional job
• Grist & Tallim were dumped on the Dripping Blade, when the "professionals" got antsy about killing off a member of the Orinidish outcasts (Orindish organized crime being tied to the Landholders bloc in the Assembly)
• They were supposed to kill them, but sold them instead, Grist to the Gluttony Cult and Tallim to slave merchants from the Order (they have since learned).
• Woden confirmed what happened to Tallim
• Woden questioned the leader of the Dripping Blade and then one of his lieutenants… they were most forthcoming…. Between that & Tyconderoga, they were able to learn where she is now…

WODEN'S REQUEST

Neither Woden nor Grist can travel freely in the Order. Woden would attract the attention of the One, whom he fears and Grist is a Half-Orc. Moreover, the extended absence of both from the capital would suggest that something is amiss. Woden can't afford to be away now anyway (politics, etc.). Mnemonium flatly refuses to enter the Monotheocrate Order. The One would not have it. Besides, she is also eager to leave, to see to her own affairs after the collapse of the Ley Lines.

Why should we care?
“Personally, Tallim is dear to me. She is my apprentice. Politically, Tallim is an icon. If Orindo is ever again to be free and the scourge of slavery abolished there, she will have a hand in it. Her half brother is not the nicest man around… As to the mystery or her disappearance, only Tallim knows why she was abducted… Judging from what you told me about your shared dream, I think you already have your own reasons for wanting to find her…”

PLAKE FOR TALLIM

Woden begrudgingly agrees to the parties terms. He is not a man accustomed to having to bargain for what he wants.

Grist, on the other hand, is only too happy to help the party out: “I owe you gentlemen, and lady, so I will find your Plake. Find Tallim and I will see to it that no one ever bothers him again. What I do to the Dripping Blade - that's a freebee.”

Next!
More of the DM's Ramblings
As we begin BOOKE ONE!
“ORDERED BY GODS”

[ TOP ]