Jail Break

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Autumn 807 WK

0601a.jpg
Khatovar city burning ~460wk

1st Fruit

The Party


We are asked by the Fates - (Three very nice women / gods) to go to this city Khatovar as they think trouble is brewing.

First we are to go inside and find out what the trouble is then tell them and after that they might ask us to fix it.

Things we know about Khatovar:

  • It is a big city on the western side of the Inland Sea.
  • It is a large port with about 50,000 people living there.
  • You can't scry into the city and they kill people to try scrying (by nailing them to the outside of the walls.)
  • People inside aren't allowed to carry "battlefield" armour or weapons, eg. Plate mail, Hand and a Half swords etc.
  • It is used by traders and diplomats as neutral ground for negotiations.


It is run by it's guilds (a dictator is selected from one of these):


However the healer dictator has stepped down and hasn't been replaced yet this is VERY unusual as normally the transition of power is very smooth.

We decide to name ourselves the "Steel Thorns" a mercenary group looking for work.

Overnight we portaled to Tac.

2nd Fruit

In the morning we all flew to Khatovar on a flying cloud. It was very boring and we arrived there early evening and landed well outside.

The city is surrounded by a grey stone wall, very well made, some 120' tall and 60' wide at the top. It appears to be sunk into the ground and guards are moving around on it's top too.

We rock up to the front gate and talk to the guards who a quite friendly. After signing in and declaring our colleges we are escorted to a nearby inn (the Dancing Dolphin). We realise that inside the city is extremely low mana (ouchies).

After checking in (and having Thorn's big swords locked up), paying in advance we go and talk to the innkeeper about finding somewhere for dinner.
The innkeeper calls us an urchin guide and gives us a visitors map to the city. The city is circular and is divided into quarters by two big roads.

Each quarter has a different character:

  • NW - Palace
  • NE - Poor Quarter / Docks
  • SE - Merchants and Craftspeople
  • SW - Residential


The Dancing Dolphin is on the southern main road near the gate.
We meet our guide "Bob" who takes us to the middle of town (the square) where the two roads meet. In the square there are entertainers performing (all are members of the Entertainers guild). We notice a very clever puppet show being performed which seems innocent until Kilroy notices that one of the audiences shadow slowly fade away. Investigations reveals that the person was struck by "Theft" magic of horrific and chaotic nature. Also we noticed that the puppeteer has NO aura and the puppets are some sort of enhancement magic. The lanterns illuminating the show also have some "Facilitation" magic's?

We looked around the square and spotted briefly someone else who didn't seem to have a shadow either.

Bob took us to a very nice restaurant in the Palace quarter and afterwards we headed back to the inn for some rest.

I noticed that some of my Amber (which stores mana) had been drained away.

We set watches and slept.

3rd Fruit

The next morning we picked up Bob again and went out to look for some breakfast (and to scope the city out some more) - we theft three of my four chunks of Amber in the safe back at the Inn and went to a cafe just to the West of the Enchanters guild.

We noted that the Walls of the Palace - which was a funny wedding cake shape, we made the same way as the outer walls. At the enchanters guild they told us that the mana had been draining away for about a month.

Nearby we went to the Allied trades guild and filled in job application forms.

At lunch-time (and not far away from the palace) we noticed that another charge form the Amber was sucked away - they seem to go periodically, not as a smooth drain but more a sudden lump? we went back to our inn to check the other lumps of Amber in the Safe and they were unchanged - apparently the mana sucking doesn't reach this far or is blocked by the safe.

Mid afternoon we headed to the poor quarter to see if the draining happen there and to confirm it only occurred in the palace's area. On the way Toledo Steele saw some people that we recognised from the Lunar Games as ambassadors of the "Elemental Lords".

We stopped at a cafe to people watch (and to wait and see some Amber was drained) and saw:

  • A glimpse of someone allied with the Summer King.
  • A representative of the Winter King.
  • Every now and again saw someone without a shadow.

  • We went back to the Allied Trades guild and Jeff (a guild representative) handed us a broadsheet with four possible employment opportunities on it.

    1. was with the enchanters guild 15,000sp to assist them with some "testing"
    2. was suppressing some unruly miners
    3. was hunting some bandits
    4. was guard work at the Allied Trades guild itself.


    We decided to do no's 1 & 4 - no 4 was tonight from 7.00 pm to 7.00 am and no 1 was booked in for tomorrow morning and should only take an hour. Jeff also mentioned that the shadow puppets have only been here a couple of months. As it was late afternoon we nipped out to report to The Fates and then got back to the Allied Trades guild just in time to start our guarding shift.

    Aaron (another Allied Trades representative) set us up guarding a door to a meeting room deep under the guild. It was very boring until just before midnight when Aaron escorted a pair of upper class people, wearing fine grey clothes, down into the meeting room. Thorn and Lath recognised them as the twins from the Lunar games that were the ambassadors to the Elemental Lords.

    As they entered the room we glimpsed another man inside who waved a wand over the doorway before shutting it. At about midnight the twins left and we saw the other man teleport out (as the twins had left the door open.) Attempts to DA this teleporter hurt peoples eyes (they started to bleed) though Lath got the impression his symbol was a sphere half light and half dark.

    As they wandered past the twins told Aaron that the deal had gone well and he was pleased?

    Nothing happened until the morning.

    4th Fruit

    We had a quick breakfast then nipped down to the Enchanters guild for the "Testing".

    There we reported to a Shaper called Wilber who wanted us to "Test to destruction" some new models of "Miner". These were actually types of advanced elemental surrounded by an Earth shell and were quite tough. The Water one kept getting bigger and the Fire one exploded poisoning people. The Air one blasted us around like leaves in the wind. Luckily we elected to fight them one at a time. Kilroy and GoK died. I got two of the three.

    Toledo Steele to Pent "Why couldn't you have put that hole in it earlier?"

    Wilber was thankful and helpful and besides paying us had a good chat. We asked about the problems in the city and he implied he knew something of them, he also offered us another job which would "Help" the Enchanters guild with the low mana.

    He wanted us to go up north to Jotunheim and recover these three stones from a goblin shaman (they give him immortality and great power). They are three star sapphires and are called "the Tears of Change". The last party he sent up there some months ago are still missing. Payment would be a lucky dip (like at a carnival) from his box of old magic items.

    We went to a cafe for lunch and to discuss this option, we decided it would be a good idea to try and ally ourselves with the Enchanters (if we could trust them), so we returned to Wilber and said we'd take the job.

    We discussed things in the city a bit more and he made a few extra points:

    • The mana drain was definitely coming from the palace.
    • It seems to be related to the Entertainers guild and shadows etc.

    The Engravers guild had just swapped sides and supported the new dictator (Merchants, as expected) who had just been installed. He gave us a map to where the goblin shaman was - it is about 1,000 miles north.

    We went back to the Dancing Dolphin and found a message there waiting addressed to Lath (even though she is not using her real name!). It was an invitation to afternoon tea with Ambrose who is a friend of hers and an agent of the Summer King.

    We made that appointment and discovered the bartender there didn't have a shadow (and his reflection was strange and shimmery like), he was also under some sort of control magic's (forty plus MA which would be broken when his shadow and reflection was restored). So we were careful not to be overheard when talking to Ambrose.

    Ambrose (who had a shadow and was not controlled) was happy to see us and said he needed some guards to escort us to a viewing of a magic item this group was selling. The item was the "Key of Terminius" - an immensely powerful magical artefact that can open anything (including magical portals to other planes etc, etc).

    After the meet we went out of the city and reported to The Fates again.
    Terminius was an Old God - the lord of light and dark boundaries (including mirrors / shadows), he was the elder brother of The Fates (so we are mixed up in a Gods domestic) whose symbol is a circle half black and half white (like the guy under the Allied Trades guild).

    Terminius was imprisoned by his family (with the Key! so how is it outside? and if it is outside his followers could properly get into the prison). He also made the city walls and the palace! His followers are called the "Janx" and they are portal mages and the nastiest thing they are famed for is summoning "Shadow Reavers".

    We picked up Ambrose on the way to the meet (outside the city) and filled him in (after preparing for a scrap). Ambrose doubts the Key he is being offered is real but it was so powerful it is worth the risk to check it out.

    We meet a guy (whose symbol was the same as the guy under the Allied Trades guild) who had a wand up his sleeve and seemed to be able to use it to draw a line on the ground and make a portal.
    He said the Key was inside the cave and we followed him in.

    Opps, we were all magically transported into different locations in a mine and took some minutes to find each other.

    Ambrose and Toledo Steele found themselves in a cave with a table holding a box and a green key in it (looked alive).
    Three strange puppets appeared behind Toledo Steele and attacked him and while he was fighting these Ambrose was killed, decapitated, his left arm chopped off and his chest opened and some of the ribs taken out. This was done by the Janx and something that had possessed Ambrose's own shadow. Toledo Steele was infested with these horrible worms and took hideous wounds.

    When we finally found them (we had been teleported 10 miles away) we gathered up the bodies and bits left over (and the key) and headed back to the guild to see if they could be resurrected.

    Lesson - don't follow a Janx through a door or boundary!

    Sleep recovery and debrief were the order of the day.

    5th Fruit

    Ambrose wasn't resurrectable by normal means but he was killed by "The shadow of Typhon". The Guild had an old representation of Typhon, he was a human with scaled armour whose shadow was a rearing stallion (looks nasty).

    After Toledo Steele was better we decided to head south to where Ambrose's Inn is so we could hand his body over to the other agents of the Summer King who might be able to fix him up.

    A quick portal and a couple of hours flying and we were there. There was a wizened old woman there (NAMER) called Heti who let us in and showed us downstairs where we met a halfling brewer named Gambrius (very nice beer!) he tossed Ambrose's body into a magical vat but reckoned it would take a month or so to resurrect him. They agreed to try and pass a note to the Summer King so I wrote them one.

    Dear King,
    Ambrose was murdered by the Janx who drew him into a trap with a fake Terminius's key. They took his
    left arm and a bunch of his ribs. We think they will probably try the same thing with a Winter King's 
    agent. This appears to be because Janx agents want to release Terminius / take over the world.
    Yours,
    Steel Thorns (Seagate adventures guild party including Lath)
    

    We thought that another quick check in with The Fates was in order (only one came this time - perhaps we are bothering them to much?).

    We asked about how the Janx could break Terminius's prison and she said that the Key would be a powerful magical construct similar to a golem with body parts made from powerful beings. (including ribs / arms) also she said that Typhon was a Lieutenant of Terminius.

    GoK - Lets go back to the city and kill them all.
    Lath - I think that's a bit of an over reaction.
    Pent - Just the Palace then?
    Lath - That's ok then.

    She also said that The Fates can-not directly interfere with the affairs of their family, she also mentioned that the "Tears of Change" were some baubles from their little sister and probably couldn't be part of the key to release Terminius.

    She left and we discussed the possibility of getting a message to the twins, the elemental ambassadors (we saw them at the meet with the Janx under the Allied Trades guild). We though the quickest way to do this was to summon an air elemental then give it a message and it could take it to them.
    We did this and after we requested the elemental to go and deliver the message it shrank down and disappeared leaving behind the twins themselves (fast work that elemental).

    They listened to all we had to say. Main problem they have is that they need proof. There lords are VERY keen to get the key and regard most risks worth taking to get it. Apparently the Janx want and audience with the King of Stone. We emphasise that this is probably a trap and it is unwise but they say this meeting is against their best judgment but the Elemental Lords really want the key. They also mention that there are several "New Powers" (Angels? Demons?) around Khatovar also in negotiation for the key.

    The male twin gave me a calling card so we could contact them if we found undeniable proof and then the elemental ambassadors agreed to help us by transporting us quickly to the north (the quicker we get the tears of change and possibly some armour that hasn't got a shadow the quicker we get back to the city). We had to jump into an air elemental and then we popped out about 1,000 miles north half a day later.

    From where we are we can see the middle mountain of three where the goblin is - we fly on over to check it out and see a 200' tall icicle surrounded by thousands of orcs, ogres and goblins - all standing in neat rows frozen facing the icicle out to a distance of 400 feet from it. They are all under the influence of some sort of control magic's.

    We fly to the door of the icicle and go in.

    Now its gets a little confusing. Afterwards I am told that Myself, Thorn and GoK were controlled by the tower and attacked Kilroy, Lath and Toledo Steele. Mostly we hit Lath cause we were scared of whirlwind vortex. Toledo Steele knocked out Myself and Thorn then Lath Whirlwind vortexed us. I died but one of my items bought me back. Lath seemed a bit miffed as she was almost dead too and had to also use expensive items to survive.
    The survivors tied the rest of us up then went up to the top of the tower where they took the stones and left the tower with all the frozen people outside on their heels.
    Just before they left Kilroy Solar Flared the place and knocked out the floor almost sending himself into a huge crowd of orcs, ogres and goblins.

    Back at the guild they fixed us up.

    6th Fruit

    Actually we managed to hurt Lath quite a lot and it took all today to fix up her injuries too.

    7th Fruit

    We nipped down to the fastness to see Braegon for some strength of stones and to replace Kilroy's Lesser enchantment.

    Then we flew, portaled and flew again to get back to Khatovar and arrived at around sundown.

    Back in the city we observed that there seemed to be more people without shadows. We went to see Wilber and after a quick check to see if he was lying and working for the Janx handed him the "Tears of Change". We also talked to him about the situation in the city. He said that the Merchant guild now has the city totally under their control - especially after the Engravers guild supported them.

    On the theory that the Janx are building a construct / key to free Terminius he told us that some months ago some manuscripts on this subject were stolen and he noted that such a construct would require:

    • A Heart
    • Bones
    • Blood
    • Shadow


    We asked for some method of preventing the Janx using their portal magic to escape from us and Wilber gave us some strange grey dust that when sprinkled around would stop this - also it mean people died when they fell unconscious in the area. It effectively makes the area the realm of death.

    We also did the "Lucky Dip" for magic items as a reward and got:

    1. A copper disc that is worn on the wrist and acts like a shield against magic or physical damage. You can select the type of damage protected against and the more specific you are the more protection you get.
    2. An lapis luzi bone that can temporarily heal a spec grievous injury but when it is removed the injury will return.
    3. An iron nail that when hammered into ones own eye allows the user to see invisible / illusions.
    4. A leather ring that stores items, one belts worth, that can be recalled when the wearer wants.
    5. 2 cats that can be sent scouting for the owner.
    6. A book of shape-change that allows the user to change shape into various shapes (Duck, Salmon, Mouse, Mole, Bat, a Bird etc) once a week.


    We have now four plans to move forward:

    1. Go to the Realm of Death to get greater's for Kilroy and GoK.
    2. Find the Janx future targets and follow them then jump a Janx for questioning.
    3. Assault the Palace (probably have to go through the Engravers guild to get there.
    4. Go up north to get shadowless armour to assist us with fighting the Janx.

    We head back to the Inn (Dancing Dolphin) to decide. back there we discover that someone has been in our room, then GoK and Kilroy's reflections start to go "Hazy" and Lath's turns black. GoK smashed the mirror (I picked up a piece and GoK's reflection vanished entirely) and after some investigation found that the magic in the mirror was somehow "investigating" us. This seemed bad.

    We decide to move Inn's and then try to hunt up the agent of the Winter King (plan 2).

    We check in to a better class of Inn (Blue Jade) which promises it has better security. Also it is just south of the centre square and our rooms have a balcony over the road (so much closer to everything).
    We attempt to protect the room against entry by Shadow walking etc and hang out a

    Do not disturb.
    

    sign.

    As a safety measure we turn Toledo Steele into a dog.
    Leaving the Inn we find that the Enchanters guild is locked up for the night. Also we see the puppeteers are in the square - we realise that the puppeteers are only golems so decide against topping them.

    Instead we go to the Allied Trades guild and hired them to find us the agent of the Winter King. - They said it would take about 24 hours.

    Back to the Inn and sleep.

    8th Fruit

    We went to the Enchanters guild and they rented us a room that had normal mana.
    We also went to see Wilber about visiting the "Valley of the Dead" - especially to get soul bound greater enchantments for Kilroy and GoK. He took us to this room with a portal where a guy came out to meet us. He was a tall well built Human. He had scale gloves and grey clothes and also was wearing two Maces.

    He lead us through the portal into the "Valley of the Dead" and we were told to:

    Stay on the Path!!
    

    GoK tried to cast a "Falling Star" on someone off the Path and dropped dead.

    After talking to the Agents of Death they said they would give some on us soul bound greaters in return for these four daggers that were stolen from them and they believe are currently in Khatovar in the possession of Valorious who got them from his master Titus (both might be Vampires) five hundred years ago. We were also told to be careful picking up these weapons as there was no healing wounds made by them.

    We agreed and promptly dropped dead and upon waking up had the greater's (bit extreme if you ask me).

    Once we got back to the land of the living and talked to Wilber some more we learnt that Valorious was head of the palace guard about three hundred years ago and when the last prince was killed he was the only body not accounted for.

    Whilst waiting for the report back from, the Allied Trades Guild on the Agent of the Winter King we headed down to the Port Quarter (where we last saw him) and sat in a cafe for lunch.

    While we were wiling away a couple of hours (waiting to get attacked) we noticed that there weren't many people without shadows - on fact none we could spot. We theorise that there have all been called in to a meeting somewhere.

    I was getting bored (though the food was yummy) so we went back to the Allied Trades guild to see if they had any news for us. The gave us the name of a gambling house that the Agent of the Winter King was seen at.

    We went there and sent in a cat but the place was empty.

    I suggested we search adjacent inns and within an hour we found him.

    Kilroy went over and had a drink with him and then eventually we got a private word with him.
    He said he had suspected the whole "Key of Terminius" thing was a trap and kept refusing risky meetings with the Janx.
    He also said that he had had the "Feeling of Summonings" in the city as of late.

    He agreed to help us and to leave a note at the front desk of his Inn of the time and place of the next meet the Janx tried to set up. We arranged an urchin to go and check for such a note regularly.

    Back out our Inn we had a chat about options and decided to wait for the night.

    9th Fruit

    First thing the urchin brings us a note that the "Meet" is set up for Midnight tonight in an abandoned Mill about five miles south west of the city.

    Spend most of the day making plans and practising them (I am not going to detail all the rejected plans just the one we did).
    Except:

    GoK thought it would be a good idea if Kilroy turned into a bat and rousted in the Mill and then 
    "Squawked" to alert/summon us in.

    In the end we kept it simple.
    Kilroy had the illusion cloak on to look like the agent of the Winter King. He would be accompanied by a frost giant (that I made) who would be carrying a lantern. The rest of us would be flying in circles about 500 feet away. When the giant puts down the lantern we would all fly in and attack. At the same time Kilroy would use his bound air to distribute the "Death Dust" that would hopefully stop the Janx from escaping.
    We implemented the plan at midnight and it worked!.
    Except that the Janx crippled Kilroy quickly then killed him (as he went down Kilroy gasped out a curse of blindness) and the Janx also chopped off Lath's hand and killed her.
    He had a neat trick that made us turn around when we got close to him so he could hit us in the back and two nasty swords that did horrible unhealable wounds.
    Also he could use a mirror to move all the damage he had taken (as Toledo Steele, Thorn and myself we dishing out quite a lot) onto anyone whose shadow the Janx had stolen. GoK probably didn't die because he got lost flying in and the fight was over in 20 seconds.
    The "Death Dust" seemed to work and the Janx broke his wand trying to create a portal to escape (seemed a bit miffed over this).

    On his body we found Loot!:

    • Lantern
    • Belt with 10 mirrors
    • 2 Shadowy Falchions
    • Small hand mirror
    • Coin

    We grabbed the stuff and retreated back to our practice spot (not in the city). There we bought back Kilroy from the dead but it took a couple of goes and he didn't look to good afterwards.
    We also realised that the wounds taken by Kilroy (both arms crippled) and Lath (collarbone and hand severed) couldn't be healed by Thorn.

    So we headed back to the guild to see what they could do.
    They couldn't help either.

    Thorn - "You can't fix Lath Period."
    Pent - "We knew THAT!.

    10th Fruit

    We decide to try and see the Summer King (as Lath is a friend) and to catch up on how Ambrose is going.

    We were going to "Ask the Dead" on the Janx's corpse but by mid-morning it had shrivelled up into a skeleton of plates and wires.

    We got to Ambrose's Inn by lunchtime and saw Heti again.
    She took us downstairs to Gambrius the brewer again and he gave us beer and led us to see the Summer King.

    11th Fruit

    It took all day to walk the paths underground and after what seemed like hours we came to a vine encrusted door behind which was a nice young man (with vines growing all around him). We chatted for a bit and he agreed to fix Lath and Kilroy for an IOU from them.

    Lath lost her death aspect in the process of being healed and was a bit miffed by that.

    GoK asked if he could get his reflection back but all the Summer King could do is show him a picture of the shadow upside down on a rack being tortured.

    We head back and got back to the Inn the next day.

    12th Fruit

    Kilroy banished us back to Slippery Rock.
    We all turned up there but Kilroy didn't arrive with us.

    After a little panic he met us back at the guild and said he had been diverted by The Fates (via a huge raven who was eating an unfortunate in a gibbet - icky).
    The message was:

    Once a dozen they were
    Till sundered by war and time
    Riven in twain they became
    Now one less For one, many will suffer For one, blood will flow For one, death will come For one, revenge
    From wood they have forged bone From dark and light they crush blood From many they tear flesh From shadow they mix shadow A stone they seek To be a heart that beats

    So out of all of this we presume.

    • There are only 5 Janx left.
    • They have everything they need to release Terminius except the Heart of the Elemental King.

    The Guild librarians also found for us a reference to the sorcerer Grimalt (the Janx we killed had his sword) and a picture of him showed him summoning a huge dark armoured shape from a pool of blackness.

    So we used the "elemental calling card" to contact the elemental ambassadors to warn them.
    We talked to the woman and she said that he Janx had made many overtures to the Elemental lords and the rewards that they were offering were getting more and more tempting. They were still advising caution but eventually the Elemental lords will be tempted into meeting the Janx.
    She suggested that this might take about a week or so.

    We considered our next step.
    What we want to do is attack through the Khatovar city sewers and get into the bottom of the palace (possibly getting the daggers off Valorious on the way). So we need to gather protections etc against the Janx.

    The elemental ambassador we were talking to said she can weave our shadows in to cloaks so we could hide them and prevent the Janx from using them against us. Also she had some crystals that capture your reflection temporarily.
    We thought both of these were good.

    She stuck her hand out of the calling card and we all travelled to her castle which seems to be at a location that touches each of the elemental planes.

    It will take a few days to have our shadows woven.
    She starts with Thorn's shadow.

    13th Fruit

    Then she does Lath's shadow.

    14th Fruit

    Then she does GoK's shadow.

    15th Fruit

    Then she does Pent's shadow.

    16th Fruit

    Last she does Kilroy's shadow.

    17th Fruit

    About lunchtime we return with everyone's shadows woven (except Toledo Steele whose armour suppresses his).

    We go and see Braegon again for Strength of stones etc then head out on the portal to Tac.

    In the afternoon we sleep.

    By cloud we travel at night arriving near Khatovar early in the morning.

    18th Fruit

    We shape-change into fishes or just breath the water and sneak into the sewers.
    After we travel a bit we reach the centre of the city and realise we have to wait for the Enchanters guild to open before we could get some more "death dust" from Wilber.
    So we sneak out of the sewers in the poor quarter and wait.

    GoK hears the slow marching of feet towards him (none of the rest of us can hear this) and soon we are attacked by a HUGE 10 foot high figure in black armour wielding the biggest axe I have ever seen. It DA's as a "Shadow Reaver" It hurts when it hits us but eventually we kill it. GoK loses an arm trying to recover the axe from the pool of darkness that the Shadow Reaver turned into when it died - this seemed to be a bit like a pool shaped dark sphere.

    All GoK said was:
    GoK - "That didn't work."

    Fortunately Lath fixed GoK's arm.

    Also we left in the alley a rune wall and a rank 20 light. The Shadow Reaver knocked a couple of holes in the road and nearby buildings.

    As we are waiting for the Enchanters guild to open (we need to see Wilber to get more "death dust") Toledo Steele expresses some optimism.
    Toledo Steele - "Perhaps we have met the warrior Janx and those left are all wusses and mages."

    Somehow I don't think so.

    So we had breakfast (best plan today).

    From Wilber we got some local news, like that an Inn in the poor quarter where the agent of the Winter King was staying was completely destroyed and all in it killed with extreme prejudice. Also some of the guards arriving on the scene were slaughtered - someone was upset.
    He also gave us some more death dust and we headed back down into the sewers to find Valorious.

    Back in the sewers we followed the northern main branch. Eventually we come across this strange mist. The mist was magical and difficult to see through - also there was an aura in the area of mist that prevented us seeing any other auras (so said GoK and Kilroy). There were also scrape marks on the walls (bodies getting tossed around?).
    I assumed Telekinetic Rage wards.

    Shortly thereafter as we were slogging through the mist we started running into wards (finding them the hard way) and traps (which we generally spotted).
    We saw some wards - all rank 20 odd (and triggered but we think they come back after a little time):

    • Telekinetic Rage.
    • Sinking Doom.
    • Telekinetic Rage.
    • Diamond Tipped Javelins.
    • White fire
    • A Pressure plate trap.
    • Black fire.
    • Diamond Tipped Javelins.
    • Telekinetic Rage.
    • Black fire.
    • Another normal trap.
    • Diamond Tipped Javelins (double effect?).
    • Telekinetic Rage (double effect?).

    Eventually we come out into a triangular shaped room with a large brick wall at the other end. It had a circle of rune's (actually three concentric circles in different runic languages according to Kilroy) just in front of the wall. The wall also had some very thin pipes going through it.

    Pent - "I can see why no-one comes down here."

    The thin pipes go through the wall but also drain deep below the city. Lath turns us all into vapour and we go through.

    The other side has a bunch of nasty assassins waiting for us (the wall turns out to be one-way transparent). They attack us, although most of the party wants to talk, and we kill them.

    Then Valorious and some of his henchmen with repeating crossbows step through the end wall and although GoK and Thorn charge towards him, and Lath prepares to zap him we manage to negotiate with him.

    Pent - "I want a different counter spell to hide in - not Lath's."

    We tell him the truth (sometimes this works) and it works, although he is unwilling to help us with the Janx (seems rather unfazed by them taking over the city) after a chat with some one (Titus we assume) agrees to return the daggers to save trouble (especially since the death people seem to know he has them).
    He also gave us a coin to drop into the Allied Trades guild if we have to contact him.
    Valorious says that in five days he will return the daggers to the people form "the valley of death" at this tomb they both are familiar with out of the city.
    He also confirms that the Janx are doing some big ritual under the palace and that the river under the city does lead that way.

    We then left and went back to see Wilber at the Enchanters guild and bought some investeds - mainly quickness and empathy (since Toledo Steele and GoK seem to have trouble drinking healing potions).
    We also talked to the dead guys to tell them of the deal with Valorious. They seemed fine with this.
    Lath as asked if they could get her "Death Aspect" back (she lost it when the incurable wounds were healed by the Summer King) sure he said and she got it back but the wounds also (broken collarbone and her hand dropped off) - oops.

    Back to the sewers and we work along to we find where the river flows into it. We follow the river upstream until we find a small culvert that leads into the cellar of the Engravers guild.

    The cellar is a huge sixty foot tall, sixty foot wide, hundred and forty foot long room with 4 large strange crystals hanging from the roof. Each crystal has a demon or an angel in it being "juiced" for it's blood. There is one HUGE summoning circle on he floor plus four little ones around it. Also there are four glowing circles (portals Lath says) nearly in each corner. A bunch of work benches and some racks of vials make up the rest of the room.
    Oh and:

    • 5 perverted angels with black runes over half their bodies.
    • 5 Engravers in robes.

    They spot us once we are in there and attack.
    We kill all the perverted angels and a couple of the robed guys but some get away (Thorn looses a hand).
    Just as we are about leave their reinforcements turn up and after a more difficult fight we see them off too.
    Kilroy turns into a Giant to thump them.
    Lath tries to chase one through the portal but is almost killed by Ballistae guarding the other end of the portal.

    We get some loot:

    • A Stylus.
    • A pot of Rainbow coloured paints.
    • A coin - old and stained.
    • Two swords.
    • 9 vials with motes of light in them (Heal Fatigue).
    • 9 vials with motes of dark in them (Heal Endurance).
    • 4 vials containing a dark viscous liquid (Restore both Fatigue and Endurance).
    • 6 pouches of dust (Stop you being stunned for a day).
    • A small coffer of dust (Hiding?).
    • Another pouch of different dust (Investment?).

    We use three of the anti stunning dust and move briskly along the tunnel.

    Eventually we reach a smooth stone wall which resembles that of the outer wall of the city - we surmise we have reached the palace. In the wall is an arch and near the top is a line of runes that we think is magics from the Janx that DAs as disruption. We brace ourselves.

    Kilroy tries to push his bound air through the arch, none of it makes it through and it is turned into a rainbow as it goes under the arch. Lath tries scooping some water through and it is sliced (like though an egg slice) into many thin slices (note to self - DONT RUN THROUGH, second note to self make sure GoK doesn't run though either).

    I made some Ice which we pushed various sizes through - generally this made snow.
    After a while I had the idea to use the "Death Dust" (I figured it would disrupt the Janx's magic) so Kilroy rubbed it on the runes and they burnt out leaving us the way clear through.

    A short while later we got to a huge room 300 foot square with a pleasant garden trees etc. The river splits to go either side of the huge 150 square grey cube in the middle. The cube extended all the way to the roof and some strange symbols on every side:
    There was the symbol:
    Jail Break Puzzle 1.JPG
    with this puzzle below it.
    Jail Break Puzzle 2.JPG
    GoK touched the top most dot of the pyramid and a single dot appeared to the right of the puzzle (obviously this is where the answer to the puzzle was to go). We yelled at GoK a bit.

    DA'ing seemed to indicate that this was some sort of "Lock", and if we got it correct something would open (We were pretty sure this WASN'T the Jail for Terminius as it seemed a bit simple for holding a God).

    The puzzle reset every 15 minutes and there were three versions of it before it cycled back to the first one.
    Finally we (mostly Kilroy) worked out the puzzle.
    The answer was:
    Jail Break Puzzle 3.JPG
    This was because each column was a description of the previous one:

    • First column had 1 dot (1).
    • Second column described the first showing 1 instance of 1 dot (1,1).
    • Third column described the second showing 2 instances of 1 dot (2,1).
    • Forth column described the third showing 1 instance of 2 dots and 1 instance of 1 dot (1,2:1,1).
    • Fifth column described the forth showing 1 instance of 1 dot, 1 instance of 2 dots, and 2 instances of 1 dot (1,1:1,2:2,1).
    • Sixth column described the fifth showing 3 instances of 1 dot, 2 instances of 2 dots, and 1 instance of 1 dot (3,1:2,2:1,1).

    So the answer is:
    1 instance of 3 dots, 1 instance of 1 dot, 2 instances of 2 dots, and 2 instances of 1 dot (1,3:1,1:2,2:2,1).

    This left us a little frustrated and irritable so when the cube opened revealing a huge chamber where a ritual was taking place that involve the sacrifice of about thirty townsfolk, which was being overseen by half a dozen guards and a single person (whom we assumed was a Janx) violence quickly ensued.

    The room itself had five sides (kinda shaped like a rectangle with one of the sides bent out of shape) and each side was about 150 foot long.
    Four of the sides (not the one we had just came through) had large 10 foot wide 20 foot high mirrors in the middle of them. The two mirrors to our left and right showed stars (like the night sky) and the two at the other end showed light and darkness.
    Nearish to us (on the left) was a torture rack with what seemed to be GoK's missing reflection.
    On our right was a plinth with a body lying on it shrouded in a red cloth.
    Also near the other end were two groups of townsfolk grouped around two pools. One of them was ripping pieces of their flesh and throwing it into a pool, the other was ripping off their shadows for their pool.
    Also there is a wooden skeleton hung by chains and hooks (the golem that will become the Key of Terminius perhaps).
    Six guards were standing perfectly still near the strange person (Janx).
    This person seamed to be wearing pieces of flesh as armour and was armed with whips (LOTS of whips) and chains with hooks on them.

    Our plan was to free GoK's reflection, and check out the plinth. Next we would break the mirrors and advance as a group up the middle.
    We freed GoK's reflection then Toledo Steele and GoK teleported over to the Janx and attacked him. When I ice bolted the mirror behind the Janx the bolt flew through it like an open door and off into the distance.
    Any damage done to the Janx he swapped onto the townsfolk. He also wrapped the whips around them and they started to squeeze (Toledo Steele's head and GoK's arm and leg).
    Backup plan was to toast the townsfolk and the guards first then beat up the Janx - this went quite well but I got whipped and hooked. I tore out the hook myself and Toledo Steele chopped the whip off with his HUGE sword (Ouch).

    We knocked down the Janx (didn't get to ask his name) but not before he threw a black disc through both the left and right mirrors which caused a bell to toll.

    We had about a quarter of a minute to recover and managed to heal up and Kilroy put a bunch of runewalls around the exits and I put up Ice walls over one of the side mirrors (one that the Janx had thrown the black disc through).
    Also Toledo Steele went over to the plinth revealing what appeared to be a dead Janx under the red shroud. After the cloth was removed the body started to decay rapidly (another Janx accounted for - three to go I think).

    We heard a screaming sound and this horrid huge bug with lots of mouths, and tentacles and beaks flew in through the right hand mirror and nibbled on Toledo Steele. On the other side of the room there was a loud thump as it's partner ran into the other side of the ice wall and tried to break through.
    In our time honoured tactic we all jumped on the bug and thumped it down.

    And another Janx came down the stairs from upstairs (I asked this one it's name but they didn't answer). This one had robes made of shadows and a staff that looked like a long screaming woman. He stayed behind two of Kilroy's runewalls and animated lots of the dead townsfolk.
    Lath killed about half of the townsfolk (again) and Toledo Steele and GoK ported into attack the Janx who summoned a Shadow Reaver (10 foot tall armoured guy with a HUGE mace), also as another trick the Janx opened a portal to the elemental plane of fire and tried to fry most of us.
    His cloak seemed to absorb magical attacks and his staff could heal himself by being stabbed into dead townsfolk but after much bashing (and ice bolting) we knocked him (and the shadow reaver - who turned into another one of those pools that slowly expand and eat GoK's arms) down.
    He also had some dart things that if they hit you circled round a couple more times and found chinks in your armour - three of these got Lath and chopped off her hand (again).

    Just as this mage went down ANOTHER Janx (this one also wouldn't say her name) turned up and summoned ANOTHER Shadow Reaver - except this one was bright white and the other ones were dark black (they are obviously used to working alone because if all three had attacked together with three Shadow Reavers and the two bug things we would all be dead - however their timing is such that they seem to arrive within about 15 seconds of each other which seems to be just enough for us to get the upper hand on the last one).

    This Janx was dressed in mirrored armour and was wielding a large glaive with a blade so thin as to be almost invisible. As she charged towards us she duplicated herself into several independent mirror images (they were really hard to hit but popped when ice bolted) also she could chop up magical walls with the glaive and if you hit her your image was captured by the mirror armour and this made it harder to hit her. She also reflected magic back.

    We popped the images (eventually) and GoK and Kilroy killed the white Shadow Reaver (right beside where the other one died - more on that later) and we ganged up on her.
    She was hard to hit but she seemed to have little trouble hitting Thorn (who she eviscerated then killed) or Toledo Steele who she beat up quite a bit. It was all a bit dicey until Kilroy entered the fray and used the first Janx, that we had met, sword on her and he chopped off one hand and crippled her other arm.

    As a sideline I have never in all my years at the guild seen so many limbs fall off in fights as I have
    over the last three weeks in and around this city. I think there should be a warning sign or something
    around here (like on the city gates) with a note like

    "Warning. Limb chopping zone approaching. Take extreme care with sharp pointy objects as these may
    easily cause amputation in the area. You have been warned!"

    Anyway as she went down another Janx came down the stairs - this one we recognised from his picture back at the guild. He was unarmed (yea right!) and was wearing close fitting scale armour all over. His shadow looked like a rearing stallion. He was Typhon, leader of the Janx. Obviously smarter than the rest he briefly surveyed the devastation then used a wand to make a portal and disappeared into his own shadow (so one Janx got away).

    As we cleaned up (read looted) we saw that the two pools, one of absolute darkness (like a dark sphere - and we know it can eat GoK's arm) and one of absolute light (like a light sphere) were slowly growing (just like the Shadow Reaver up in the city) however because of where they were killed the two pools were only around 5 feet apart and getting closer together.

    A quick estimate leads us to believe that in about 30 seconds they will touch and we think this will make a mess (light sphere / dark sphere type of mess). We hope that this magical room and the Palace will contain it and decide to wind walk out of here (Lath asks the winds and finds the front door is open - but guarded). I trigger a couple of wind walks and Lath casts some and we haul all the bodies (Thorn and Janx) back to the Enchanters guild and see Wilber.

    He reckons that the guild would not be hurt by an explosion and we realised it actually went off while we were still wind walking (we saw a small earthquake and there is some smoke coming out of the Palace).

    Appendix

    A - People we Met or Heard about

    • The Fates - Three nice ladies / gods who are our Employers.
    • Bob - Urchin / guide from Khatovar.
    • Elemental Ambassadors - Twins (Male and Female) who represent the Elemental Kings (all four of them).
    • Summer King - King of the Season and a powerful God. One of his agents is Ambrose.
    • Winter King - King of the Season and a powerful God.
    • Jeff - Representative of the Allied Trades guild. He hired people for various jobs for the guild.
    • Aaron - Representative of the Allied Trades guild. He is high up in the guild but we don't know how high.
    • Wilber - A shaper high in the hierarchy in the Enchanters guild. He was of great assistance to the party and was an ally with them against the Janx. As of 4th Frost 2008 Blood and Sand, he no longer works for the Enchanters guild.
    • Ambrose - Agent of the Summer King and friend of Lath. Lives at an Inn some 1,000 miles west of the guild in Brandenburg.
    • Terminus - God and elder brother of The Fates. Imprisoned but still had twelve followers (the Janx) including Typhon and Grimalt. At the time the party was hired by The Fates there were only six left and the party accounted for 1 of them.
    • Typhon - Leader of the Janx and follower of Terminus. Believed to be the last survivor after a guild party killed four Janx.
    • Heti - Human female Namer and agent of the Summer King. Lives in Ambrose's Inn with Gambrius.
    • Gambrius - Halfling (though Thorn sees something differently) Brewer and agent of the Summer King. Lives in Ambrose's Inn with Heti.
    • King of Stone - The Elemental Lord of Earth. A very powerful being. Usually communicates to mortals via the elemental ambassadors.
    • Valorious - Currently is a Vampire and the head of the Assassins guild of Khatovar. 300 years ago he was the Head of the Palace guard until a coup killed the royal family and he disappeared. He has been known to try and capture Water mages but also has done reasonable deals with Guild parties where they are in his interest. A VERY dangerous individual.
    • Titus - Nothing is known about this figure except that he is the master of Valorious and therefore probably a Vampire aged at least 300 years. Some 500 year ago he MAY have stolen 4 daggers form the "Realm of the Dead" but has promised to return these soon.
    • Grimalt - Janx, Sorcerer and follower of Terminus. Unaccounted for but we were sure he was one of the 6 Janx killed over the millenia since Terminus was imprisoned.

    B - Places we Went

    • Khatovar - City on the edge of the Inland sea.
    • Dancing Dolphin - The first Inn we stayed at near the gates.
    • Blue Jade - The second Inn we stayed at very briefly near the centre of Khatovar.

    C - Guilds of Khatovar

    • Healers - previous dictator
    • Engravers - suspected Greater Summoners
    • Enchanters - Powerful Wizards Guild
    • Allied Trades - Thieves and Mercenaries
    • Paper - Palace and city guards
    • Artificers
    • Entertainers
    • Assassins
    • Merchants - incoming dictator