Ember: Fire and Wind

The Story So Far (at the halfway point)...

1. The Ruins of Fort Kysem:

  • The party all converged on their coincidental shared destination: Fort Kysem.
  • The fort was burnt and razed to the ground, with the symbol of Imix melted into the fort grounds/sands.
  • The party fought some fiery/smoky rats, some fire-based creatures, and some hobgoblin raiders (one of whom shattered apart upon defeat).
  • The party secured the small shrine to Elemental Earth, and took the shrine’s topaz with them for safekeeping, and the group did their best to break up the fused glass symbol.

2. Escorting Varuna’s caravan to Abitaan:

  • The party left the fort to continue on to Abitaan, defending Varuna’s caravan along the way.
  • A caravan of sun-worshippers caught up with the party:
    • They worshipped a sun-disc-deity named Aten;
    • Their holy symbol: a solar disc with tentacles/rays ending in hands;
    • They were heading to a local oasis to sacrifice a creature that dwelled there.
  • The party left the caravan, and stopped the worshippers from performing a misguided sacrifice;
    • One worshipper was taken captive;
    • Osookh was gifted an ivory statuette by the oasis fey.
  • The party rejoined the caravan, misdirected them in the desert, fought off some giant antlions, and eventually made it to the city of Abitaan.

3. Abitaan, and the Abitaan crypt:

  • The party met Sabacus, a cleric of the old ways in Abitaan.
  • The captive sun-disc worshipper was turned over to Sabacus, who wanted to put a geas on the fanatic to temporarily prevent him from harming others:
    • The geas needed a special component: a fragment of Bast’s image from a nearby crypt;
    • The party explored the crypt and found: religious murals, a nest of giant termites, an ancient wall map, an angry, undead tomb guardian, and a hidden chamber with a depiction of Bast stabbing out the eye of the fire-serpent, Apophis/Apep.
  • Sabacus cast the geas, and made a request:
    • The churches of the old ways have lost a dangerous magic item, and he requested that the party go and retrieve it. The destination was miles away, and the quickest way to travel was through the mirror realm. He did not go into detail about the item, because…

4. The Mirror realm, Confluence, and the Worm Bridge:

  • Sabacus discussed mirror travel, and the propensity of the realm to create evil doubles;
    • Similarly-constructed mirrors can sometimes lead to a linked mirror realm/plane (a given mirror realm/plane was called a ‘constellation’);
    • Mirror realms create evil doubles of all who enter;
    • Sabacus could not discuss the lost artifact, because the mirror doubles would then know exactly what the party knew;
    • Before entering, the party switched gear to be as ineffective as possible…
    • …But they were attacked by a swarm of mirror mephits in their now-useless gear.
  • The party entered the mirror realm, fought three doubles of themselves, and quickly travelled to the exit mirror-portal.
  • The group met Tychaeus, scholar at the Elemental Air temple:
    • He told them about the “Eye of Apophis” – an ancient, magical, diamond lens that reigns fiery death for miles around. Centuries ago, the lens was broken into three pieces:
      1. One piece is in the care of the clerics of Isis;
      2. The second piece is destroyed;
      3. And the third piece was believed to have been lost, but a written account/description of that piece was just discovered in the Deadlands.
  • The party left the city, travelled to the Worm Bridge, navigated the bridge ‘turnstiles,’ fought off some undead, and rescued a bard named Eamon.

5. The Deadlands, and the return across the Worm Bridge:

  • The party found an abandoned dwelling/complex in the Deadlands;
    • Outside of the complex was a small shrine to a sun-disc-with-tentacles deity;
    • The dwelling formerly housed a sculptor – the party found fragments of his burnt journal discussing, “the master” and the sculptor’s ability to recreate the Eye of Apophis from the remaining lens piece(s);
    • The party discovered (and kept) shards of a large mirror, and learned that the sculptor, the ‘master,’ and the lens piece were last seen passing through the mirror.
  • The party returned across the Worm Bridge, fought off more undead, and returned to Confluence.
  • Tychaeus examined the broken mirror shards:
    • The original mirror must have led to different mirror constellation;
    • The shards look like fire-fused sand from the Mirrored Sea – but Tychaeus remarked that none who have tried to mirror-travel the Mirrored Sea have ever returned;
    • The mirror shards may be able to be entered safely if the mirror is reforged; however, reforging the mirror must be done in the same manner as what originally created it.
    • No one knows what created the Mirrored Sea, save for an oracle that lives there now;
    • The scholars at the Elemental Fire temple know how best to contact the oracle.

6. The Fire Temple, a Mirror Jaunt, and the Crypt of Nephthys:

  • The party visited the Fire Temple during an “open house” event.
  • The group fought in a brief gladiatorial-style combat, and earned an audience with the local scholars, who discussed the ‘rules’ of visiting the oracle:
    • Visitors are only accepted between dawn and midday;
    • Visitors must survive the fiery perils of the Crucible;
    • And querents must have a suitable offering.
  • Tychaeus told the party that the first mirror constellation has a portal near the Mirrored Sea. So the party entered the mirror, fought off the rest of their doubles, and exited into the inner chamber of the Crypt of Nephthys.

7. The Crypt of Nephthys, the Bhuka, and the Fey Oasis:

  • The party slowly worked its way out of the crypt, disabling traps along the way with the aid of a “key” in the form of a pair of golden bricks.
  • Partway out of the crypt, the party met a group of bhuka, apparently intent on infiltrating and destroying/reclaiming the crypt.
    • An arrangement was discussed: the bhuka tentatively agreed not to defile the crypt, but may consider sealing the entrance and/or building a shrine to their own goddess at the entrance.
  • Overnight, the bhuka group had left, and the party discovered that one of their gold key-bricks was missing.
    • The party caught up with the bhuka, and discovered that their resident group member Wahele told the others about the key-bricks, which is why it was stolen in the night. They returned the key-brick to the party.
    • Wahele (who had been carrying the mirror shards) left the party with the other bhuka; they implied that they would return to the crypt in the future…
  • En route to the town of Shard, the party was joined by the elf Qualith (a warrior/scholar of Elemental Air), then encountered an oasis populated by fey nomads and brainwashed asherati:
    • The party defeated the fey, and rescued the asherati, one of whom was Osookh’s sister.

8. Shard: Oldcity and the ancient Bathhouse:

  • The party arrived in Shard, which served as a waypoint en route to the Mirrored Sea.
  • Qualith, on a mission from Tychaeus, directed the party to a hidden magical cache in the older, ruined portion of town.
  • Later, on the edge of town, the party witnessed a portion of the mirrored glass collapse (in fact, it seemed to explode via glowing holy symbols), revealing an ancient, abandoned bathhouse:
    • The bathhouse had a prolific water spring and a ‘chilled’ pool, which were maintained by a few mephits that had been magically-bound there for centuries. They party freed the bound mephits, who agreed not to cause trouble.
    • Some of the rooms were decorated with an upside-down ankh, star and chalice motif.
    • The private wing of the bathhouse was guarded by an enchanted, conversant (but grumpy) door. The door referred to the bathhouse owners as, “The Drinkers of the Source.”
    • Beyond the door (which the group avoided by using the pipe system), the party found magical devices that released volleys of magic missiles upon command.

9. The Mirrored Sea, the Crucible, and “Ice” Shard:

  • The party travelled to the Mirrored Sea, met with the oracle (giving her gifts of the ‘Earth’ topaz and the ivory figurine from Fort Kysem and the first oasis, respectively), and were cryptically told about old deeds, evil heathens, lost history, and new foes:
    • The Mirrored Sea was created by an act of divine fire/destruction by the goddess Hathor, and such a mirror may be reforged by a direct source of Hathor’s divine fire;
    • Such a source can be found back in the Crypt of Nephthys, by, “following your dreams.”
  • Meanwhile, Qualith got separated from the party, and explored the Crucible on his own, looking for a hidden repository of knowledge.
    • He found a resident group of fire creatures (and one ghost) living there;
    • They hesitantly directed him to a ruined subterranean chamber, guarded by another enchanted door. Inside were ancient ledgers and tax records referencing a group known as, “The Drinkers.”
  • Once reunited, the party returned to Shard en route to the Crypt of Nephthys. The city was beset by unusual weather, and a large ice-fortress had appeared just above the bathhouse, just within the past few days:
    • A population of mephits had appeared in town, and their numbers exponentially increased within just a few days.
    • The mephits had constructed the ice-fortress (using the spring, magic, and icy breath-weapons), and had haphazardly started to take over the town.
    • The bulk of the town’s original population had moved to the older city ruins, and Natare the asherati had taken lead of ‘the resistance.’
    • The party and Natare defeated some more-troublesome mephits, and worked out a truce/alliance with those that remained.

10. Return to the Crypt of Nephthys:

  • The party returned to the Crypt of Nephthys, to find it guarded by some bhuka-made constructs and one bhuka scout.
    • The group defeated the constructs, and questioned the scout (who insisted he was about to warn the party); they requested that the scout go and fetch Wahele and the mirror shards.
  • And the Crypt of Nephthys beckons once again…
The Old Ways laid bare
  • After returning to the Crypt of Nephthys and dealing with the bhuka demolition crew, the group re-explored some of the lower chambers. There, they discovered the entrance to the lower Tomb of Regrets.
  • Following the chamber downwards, the party met Hati and Jo’am, residents of the lower tombs. They directed the group to Sekhmet, who was found to be the source of all of the party’s prophetic dreams.
  • After a travelling within Sekhmet’s dream-memories, the party’s dream-selves were immolated with divine fire and awoke, still on-fire from the dream, and armed with knowledge of the past:

It seems that the goddesses of the Old Ways tried to annihilate the great tower of a powerful, wayward sect known as The Drinkers. In doing so, many more perished than anticipated, and the Mirrored Sea was all that remained. In the years that followed, the clergy of the Old Ways sought to erase this event (and evidence of the blasphemous sect) from history, entombing the remaining fragments of history in the Tomb of Regrets.

  • After transferring the dream/divine fire from themselves to a torch, the party regrouped just in time to be alerted that the upper crypt was under attack.
  • The interred dead in the tomb amassed and again took up arms, and together with the party defended the tomb against an onslaught of digging constructs and summoned creatures, sent by the bhuka.
  • The battle destroyed some of the upper crypt (particularly the inner shrine and the Capistro travelling mirror), but the lower tombs survived unscathed.
  • With the aid of Hati’s divinations, the party traveled Northwest, tracking the bhuka and the broken mirror shards.
  • They found the shards (and some of Wahele’s old equipment) in the possession of a ill-tempered sphinx, who apparently took the goods from Route.
  • After incapacitating the sphinx, the group left, and traveled on to Shard in search of a glass-worker to repair the mirror.
The Mirror Beckons
  • Upon returning to Shard, Sabor de Soledad displayed his eagerness to investigate his centuries-old foes, the Drinkers: a sect of wizards that turned away from the Old Ways, using Isis’s magic for sustenance and unnatural life.
  • Returning to ongoing priorities, the group repaired the broken shards of the mirror, and stepped through to the Mirror World. After leaving a crisscrossing set of tunnels, the party entered the ‘flip’ side of the Mirrored Sea, with the Great Tower of the Drinkers in the far distance.
  • En route, the group defeated some local mirror-fey creatures (including the sculptor mentioned in prior adventures). Unfortunately, the group killed the sculptor as well, before realizing that he was being dominated a cloud of fey-mirror-glass.
  • The group next stumbled upon an invisible fortress of mirror-people, who seemed to be at war with the Drinkers. After some unsuccessful interactions with the denizens, Ja-orad left the grisly fortress in chaos, while the rest of the group went searching for invisible wizards.
  • The group next was waylaid by a series of illusions (both magical and physical), and was slowed down by a small trapped building. After a brief encounter with a Drinker, a powerful undead creature, and an avatar of the Aten deity (and the mirror-double of Qualith, who must have replaced the original during his overnight watch) the party continued on.

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