- Created by Paul S. Gazo, last modified by Scott Benoit on Mar 18, 2023
The Legendary Planet Adventure Path is a spectacular sword-and-planet saga blending sci-fi and fantasy, magic and machines with an exciting pulp sensibility and style. This campaign takes your characters from 1st to 20th level and beyond, from the quiet backwoods of a fantasy world to sights and wonders beyond imagination in the farthest reaches of the cosmos! This incredible series comprises seven massive adventures, each taking the heroes to an entirely new world with exotic environments and cosmic civilizations, from grungy desert planets to water-worlds and from fascistic dieselpunk asteroid mines to a Dyson sphere over a hundred million miles across.
DMs: Paul S. Gazo
Previously, on Lego Planet...
(A less-than-complete recap of our sessions playing Legendary Planet)
- 5: Space-Gnolls
- 6: Shafted
- 7: Burner
- 8: Emoji
- 9: Argosa
- 10: Santa Baba Yaga
- 11: Plant Karen
- 12: Shitheads For Hire
- 13: Velcro Freakout
- 14: Lomrick
- 15: The Threat
- 16: Red Gate
- 17: Rythes
- 18: The Causeway
- 19: St Albat of the Soil
- 20: Sinner and Saint
- 21: Turn to Kcor
- 22: The Sarlu-Five
This time when I came to covered in smelly, viscous fluids, I could be reasonably confident they were not my own. And unlike the previous occasion, my wakening was not accompanied by a hangover the likes of which Armageddon itself would have been unable to interrupt. I flopped about on the floor like a fish, coughing my lungs out. I was not alone. Some I recognized, but hazily, as if from a distant yet lucid dream. The strange not-quite-gnolls were something else entirely. It was as if each of us had been pickled in brine in individual jars, but then after some immeasurable amount of time the bottoms had all been suddenly and simultaneously removed, and we all spilled out at once. At first everyone was confused, but that quickly turned to fear and anger, and it seemed that as a group we were reorganizing along racial lines. The not-quite-gnolls didn't share a recognizable language with the rest, not counting body language, which was clearly hinting that violence was near at hand. I was clothed but unarmed. I did appear to still have some spells at ready, and so I quickly used one to put a pair of the not-quite-gnolls to sleep. That gave pause to the remaining two, which was opening enough to begin de-escalation. It was ominously clear we had bigger problems than each other.
Was someone missing? Who were these people again? The duergar was easily recognized, even beardless as he was. I have always been horrible with names, but, Glowin? There was a decataur. If you are unfamiliar, think half-man/half-deer but not in the fun way. Flint. Only, for some unknown reason he is strongly attached to the "mister" honorific, as if at any moment he might be confused with a "missus" and that would be a staggeringly immense social faux-pas. The woman infiltrating as a human the others refer to as "Iggy", so Ignacio? Ignacio felt wrong as a name, but it's all I could think of, so it would have to do. Ignacio and the other maybe-possibly-aasimar were close. "Childhood friendship" close, not "schlepping one another" close, which, if all those trashy, young-romance novels I was pressured into buying were to be believed, likely means she's tiefling. She called him "Archie", short for... Archibald? My memory, foggy as it was, made no objection. Her father was missing. I recall that he had been with us before we somehow ended up here, and she was quite understandably upset.
The chamber we were in was irregularly formed, but didn't quite look like a natural cave. While the walls and corners seemed unsure how they felt about such progressive concepts as straight lines, the floor and ceiling were both perfectly level. One wall held a small section that was flat, and while you might look at it and instinctively say that it was a door, there was no indication as to how it might actually be opened. Next to it was a green light, the only light in evidence as it happened, and it was blinking at about one hertz. We split up, some working together in an attempt to open the door, while the rest tried to establish communication with the not-quite-gnolls via pantomime. Neither group found success to be easy. While the pantomime group was eventually able to convey some simplistic concepts, the door group essentially broke off a portion large enough for us to squeeze through. The problem with it was that along its edges were, I can only call them tendons, that kept trying to pull the door, a thick, solid panel of slate, out of a slot in the floor and back into place as a barrier. A theory that the blinking light activated the door in some fashion seemed reasonable in light of the complete lack of any competing ideas, but its only connection was a loose bundle of fibers of various gauges that also disappeared somewhere into the wall. For all we could determine, it might as well have been the door's eyeball, tirelessly waiting for the appropriate hand signal that would trigger it to open.
The space beyond was fairly large and open, roughly circular in nature, with additional doors placed more or less equidistant around its periphery. The center of the circle was blocked off, but contained yet another door, leaving an impression of importance. Each of these doors was also accompanied by a green light, some blinking, some not. No one was in the hallway to greet or confront us, so we picked a short hallway adjacent to our starting room to explore. While most of us nervously stayed behind at a hopefully safe distance, Flint and Archibald experimented with the door and light mechanism at the end, and eventually managed to coax the door back into its niche in the floor. The room it revealed was small, and miraculously, contained most of our gear! We wasted no time in rearming and re-equipping. In our excitement at finally finding something familiar, we didn't even first check to make sure it was safe.
With marginally more confidence, Archie and Flint cooperatively finessed the next door open to reveal a now-familiar scene of evacuated jars and not-quite-gnolls splayed out on the floor beneath them. Standing amongst them was a single female aasimar, who quickly put her hands up defensively as if to protest her innocence as she started babbling in some unknown tongue. With the Breach Team's responsibilities successfully executed, Team Pantomime stepped forward and took over. Somewhat unnecessarily, as it happens.
The aasimar's identified herself as Andretto, and while she does not hail from anywhere that we have heard of, it just so happened that one of her celestial gifts was the gift of gab. Which is to say, she is able to learn languages frighteningly quickly. Within the hour she was effectively fluent in common. I have half a mind to try her at calculus to see if she can pick that up quickly as well. While this was going on, her not-quite-gnolls woke up and had a reunion with our not-quite-gnolls, and for a few tense moments it looked as though we might return to those racial lines again, but Andretto was able to successfully speak with them and convince them we would all be more likely to escape this predicament working together. She calls them bahgra, and interestingly, while not exactly native to her home, they do feature in some of her mythology and stories of ages long past.
Maria Andretto replaced Glowin as a guest star, whom we left behind to babysit/indoctrinate the not-quite-gnolls in the mysterious ways of Corn.
The party continued to explore the level we woke up on, moving clockwise. Curiously, while the floor of this place is characteristically flat, the builders didn't seem terribly keen on including perpendicular corners. The diminutive decataur tickled the next door into opening to reveal a small chamber housing a pair of new creatures. They were humanoid, with odd plates chaotically grafted onto their bodies. They stood immobile until we caught their attention, at which point they turned hostile and aggressively encouraged us to return to our cell. We forcefully declined, and from their bodies recovered two small metal rods which were quickly intuited to be keys to the strange doors. Traveling towards the next door three more of these gaolors appeared, similar in general but individually unique, issuing the same directive as the previous two. We again countered their less than generous offer with violence, and were rewarded with more keys.
What remained of the level to explore was the important-looking door in the middle, which keyed open onto a shaft cabled with strange hanging fibers and filaments. The shaft led both up and down. Twenty feet below was a floor that was rent and appeared to have been ruptured towards us. As we carefully climbed down to investigate, a terrifyingly large creature not unlike some hybrid spider/centipede skittered down from above to attack. After a long, drawn-out and fraught battle that seemed like it would be the end of, at the very least, most of us, the tide eventually turned and we somehow managed to pull a miracle out of our collective asses. Which is to say, we were implausibly all alive and the monster was decidedly not. Well, probably not. Also, it most likely did not have the opportunity to lay eggs in Ignacio, but I write this with no great confidence.
The rupture in the floor of the shaft led to a pair of rooms, one door of which had clearly been warded with glyphs warning of some powerful hazard which we brazenly ignored. From notes left behind in that chamber, Andretto was able to learn through osmosis that the denizens of this place were studying the spider/centipede with the intent of using some of its cranial fluids to bolster some inherent weakness in those of this place's other subjects. That the creature managed to escape likely precipitated the events that led to our own decantation and subsequent rampage. Taking stock of our remaining limbs and the defensibility of the location, this seemed like a good place to rest. For myself, I have had a thought concerning a possible proof of Poincare's Third Conjecture I should like to have time to explore.
I should probably dutifully note a few names for posterity. As earlier mentioned, Andretto had previously identified the strange gnolls as to be called bahgra. But through her gift with languages we also discovered our gaolors to have been referred to as klaven, and the spider/centipede monstrosity to have been a tauslek.
After a fitfully unproductive rest I erased my calculations in embarrassment and abject disgust. My initial idea eventually led to a dead end, as they often do. Feel free to spare me your predictable recriminations, I've heard them so many times I've long since grown numb to them.
We returned to the previous level where Glowin's ministrations of the bahgra left them tired and weak and listless. Presumably Corn had judged them unworthy and had declined to pop. Perhaps you would have been able to make some sense of the duergar's religion, but to me it is as alien as this dungeon's sloppy layout and its quasi-organic walls. Leaving behind the bahgra to recover, I hope, we carefully made our way up the shaft to the next exit, some fifty-five feet above. Curiously, the door to the shaft was already open, and beyond was a floor not unlike the previous, where the shaft was ringed by a hall with a number of rooms surrounding it. One key difference were the guards, a pair of klaven that had been transformed into undead. Now let me be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about klaven, and even less about undead, but it seems to me that they serve similar purposes already, so what would be the benefits of transforming one into the other? Did these two die and need to be quickly replaced? Or did the process make them more formidable? Because these two were decidedly more dangerous than the previous few ordinary klaven we've encountered so far, but not impressively so.
Our first door led to some kind of gladiatorial pit and observation area, which otherwise seemed empty. The second door revealed perhaps an office, wherein we discovered more notes written by an entity named Lomrick, clearly referring to this place and the minutia of his work, but we currently lack the context to fully make sense of it all. A secret passage brought us from the office to an adjacent laboratory, where a variety of experiments were taking place on a number of strange oozes. It was here that half my party revealed themselves to be complete imbeciles, falling over themselves like children all trying to win the attention and affection of a small, construct scorpion. They had so clearly been charmed, I too stood there befuddled and dumbfounded, having completely failed to detect any lingering auras that might explain their sudden, inexplicable shift in behaviour. It was reminiscent of that time when Naia had encountered her first fawn, when she gleefully toddled after it trying to give it a hug, only replace the fawn with a wolverine.
As luck would have it, the construct turned out to be intelligent, and after some initial hostilities, it quickly surrendered. It called itself Burner, and was also willing to provide us with some information. To wit, Burner claims we are on an entirely other planet named Garsilt, having been abducted from our native Golarion through some kind of gate network to this current facility, where the Scions of the Celestial Helix bring kidnapped victims to be transformed into klaven to serve as warrior-slaves. Burner had been acting as a lab assistant to the aforementioned Lomrick, a scientist of some kind of species named jagladine. So far, all the various writings we've discovered in this place have been written in Ultari, a language that Andretto claims is mythical to her people, and the Scions of the Celestial Helix are part of an organization called the Ultari Hegemony. Most recently, the facility has been attacked from above by an unknown party, which is why it is in its current state of disarray.
Burner also cautioned us as to the last two rooms on the floor, the first featuring an aggressively hostile table, and the latter housing a quartet of vats where the facility's klaven are actually created. Even submerged and incomplete, smashing the attached alchemical equipment roused them to action and they emerged in a vain attempt to halt our rampant vandalism. Checking the vats afterward we discovered two floating bodies that apparently had not survived the transformation process, an elf whom we did not recognize, and Ignacio's father Tycho, who had been with us when we were taken.
Seeing Ignacio's face crash with the realization of her father's fate, I suddenly find myself curious and concerned as to how our own daughter has fared in all these intervening years.
I desperately need a drink.
The facility's uppermost level greeted us with a gong and a warning. A loud, mechanical voice shouted from somewhere overhead that the structure was critically damaged and in urgent need of repairs. You would think this would be cause for general confusion: people haphazardly rushing to and fro on some urgent task, concerned yelling and frightened questions, "where can I find the such-and-such to flush the furfingaggle?", groups coordinating to move something important back into place… But for all the repeated announcements of our imminent demise, the halls were conspicuously lacking in activity. My best guess is that the inhabitants had resigned themselves to their fate and simply buggered off.
Burner was providing us with a general description of the level's layout when we were approached by our first true alien.
Now please let me explain. In our explorations thus far we have met various strange-looking people from far-off civilizations, encountered monstrous bugs and fought with constructs and undead, all of which are in some sense familiar. But what approached us was much more difficult to simply categorize. It hovered like a spirit, but appeared corporeal in nature. Its body was amorphous, but with more consistency than an ooze. It had the rough shape of the upper half of a man, but mushy and elongated as if made of wax that had been left out in the hot afternoon sun. Electricity occasionally played across its surface. It did not lunge forward to engulf us, but approached carefully and evinced curiosity instead of hunger or violence. Fascinated, I attempted to communicate with it. Its response was to make a small storm of my head, engulfing me in a humid haze, and somehow using tiny, prickling static shocks to send pictographic images directly to my mind. It told a story repeatedly, revising and reiterating as it went, to answer questions and clarify misconceptions I didn’t realize I was making as I watched. The facility had been hit and damaged by a meteorite, the outside air was toxic, and the systems inside could only do so much to cope. There was a portal that could bring us all to safety, but we would first need to fix some of the damage, which was bleeding away energy that was needed to operate the portal. The alien conveyed that it would wait in its room until we could complete the repairs.
After it left we asked Burner what it was, and he merely called it an "auxiliary power source".
We followed Burner's directions down otherwise empty hallways to a broken chamber. One corner of the room had collapsed, exposing a bizarre world and sky beyond a shimmering wall of pale yellow light, which flickered ominously. Rubble, dust and debris were strewn about, and in the dust, strange animal footprints. They didn’t keep us waiting long--two blue-grey, hairless lions, but a mass of writhing tentacles where their manes would have been. Glowin reached deep into the dark recesses of his mind and pulled a memory from his early childhood: Akata. These creatures were somehow known on Golarion and that is what they were called. (And also they were immune to fire.) After their inconvenient interruption, we returned to the matter at hand, when Burner helpfully pointed out that while we didn't have the materials we would need to make repairs, luckily there was an entry in the facility's logistics database indicating that something called a Garden of Eden Creation kit should still be sitting on the top shelf of shelving unit 3E located in storage room 1B, and that its inventory manifest claimed to contain all the requisite components we needed! Unless, of course, it had already been used, damaged, destroyed, stolen, miss-shelved, miss-shipped, or simply removed without the event having been properly logged.
Not to prolong the obvious, but we did eventually find our GECk, encountering several more and larger akata that had wandered inside along the way. We also broke into Lomrick's office. I say "broke into", but in reality Burner simply unlocked the door. Flint has taken to calling it "Leeloo Burner Multipass" for reasons that escape me. Lomrick wasn't there, apparently having instead fled at the first sign of trouble. In his place we found two undead klaven, as well as an odd little clockwork construct incessantly repeating orders to the effect of "get me the important information I need and deliver me to Supervisor SuperCool at the Temple of the Celestial Helix so he can send me through the gate to Baltimore". We located the data it was referring to, oh-so-cleverly hidden away in a nearby closet, told the construct "Okay, sure?…" and that was all it took to shut it up. Then we stuffed it in the decataur's erroneously named fanny-pack. Maybe it'll turn out to be important later.
Next to the Lomrick's office was a room labeled Communications, and against all expectations it was completely empty except for a single porcelain chair on a raised platform, which radiated magic. The magic chair's keytones were consistent with some fairly standard spells that are, as it turns out, actually used to communicate over long distances. As far as traps go, this had us all completely fooled. There wasn't even a hint as to the psychological mind games it was about to unleash upon us. Courageously, Archibald showed no hesitation, and sat down on the throne with a message at ready: "Father, Iggy and I were teleported to another planet while exploring Averenhode Manor outside Holver's Ferry. Uncle Tycho killed by aliens. Please help. Love, Archie." In addition to the x-ray of his colon projected onto the ceiling, he also received the curious reply: "Proud of you! You'll do splendid. I'm golfing. Bollette and Tycho say 'hi'. Remember your mother's birthday and bring her something nice. Cut your hair." This left Archie confused, because how could his father possibly know the condition of his hair, and Ignacio doubly confused, because if Tycho was playing golf then who was that we found earlier floating belly-up down below, and I can't really say I blame either of them.
With the tools and supplies contained in the GECk, we did manage to repair the critical machinery in the damaged room. It presumably would have been much more difficult and time consuming had Burner not been around to micromanage every step, given that it knew what went where and exactly how often. This had the noticeable effect of silencing the annoyingly periodic gong-and-warning message, greatly reduced the flickering of the glowing wall, and little else. Things were starting to turn in our favour so we retrieved the bahgra so as not to further upset the gods.
Returning to the really weird alien's room, I tried to convey to it that we were ready to leave and it should come with us, but it expressed pictionary sadness that it couldn't join in our escape. The only way we would be able to successfully get away required it to sacrifice what remained of its energy to power the gate long enough for us to leave. This made us all sad, but we all still greedily wanted to live and so bid it a solemn goodbye. Then we made a mad dash for the gate room before it could realize what a monumental mistake it had made and change its mind. When the gate powered on, a squad of klaven along with their commander immediately came through. We fought our way past them and stepped into the portal, resulting in a journey that paradoxically felt both much longer and much shorter than anyone might have expected, like racing through eternity in the span of your last heartbeat.
In all my years I have never felt so completely alone as in that dark, formless void between worlds. Not even after that one time you tried to kill me; our bodies wrapped around one another, blood pooling together into a small lake on the floor, my vision dimming as I watched the light fade from your achingly beautiful eyes.
Did you feel it too?
I was expecting another desperate battle upon our arrival, but instead we were greeted with… empty silence? The gate dumped us into a large, vacant hall, its light quickly dimming from overwhelmingly blinding back down to something closer to dusk. Many in our haphazard group were visibly disoriented by the transit, and we paused to help them while we came back to our senses. The chamber was vast, with regular stone columns supporting the ceiling, and it looked ancient. The gate was positioned at one end, and above it towered the sculpture of some indistinct goddess, emerging from the wall as if to offer the benediction of the portal from her outstretched arms. The air smelt off, but was breathable. Likewise, moving about felt slightly odd; there was a sluggish resistance as if we were all a few pounds heavier, or maybe a half-century older.
Off in the darkness, someone cleared their throat.
By all accounts relatively recently, one of the structure's side rooms had been turned into a makeshift prison by somehow fusing a set of metal bars across the doorway. The prisoner it held politely introduced himself as Baeden Rhydorn, a local human caravaneer, who was quite surprised that this old ring gate apparently still worked. We freed him in exchange for some desperately-needed information.
He told us that we were on a world named Argosa, an independent trade world with quite a few still-operational gates, which claimed to be neutral in the affairs of the Ultari Hegemony and the Bellianac Accord. Much of Argosa is inhospitable, owing to some ancient, forgotten war that littered the countryside with countless ruins, much like the one we currently found ourselves inhabiting. Several days prior, Baeden and his brother Caeftin had stopped their caravan here, whereupon an occasional client of theirs, the jagladine Lomrick, demanded that he be delivered to the nearby city of Zel-Argose. This being inconvenient to the brothers, they demurred, and so Lomrick took Baeden hostage with a promise of freedom upon their return. Baeden also offered that the ruin contained a small handful of klaven slaves and beasts serving as guards.
Our subsequent exploration of the remainder of the ruins revealed several items. Firstly, klaven are somehow aware of the status of others of their kind nearby, no matter whether originally man or beast, and will rush to aid their brethren in a fight. Secondly, Lomrick and his minions had not been particularly thorough in their examination of this place, seemingly focused mostly on the gate itself. We discovered a number of hidden compartments and chambers they had missed, disturbed only by the passage of time. One in particular contained a trap that I dared not give you the satisfaction of succumbing to, so diabolical was its design that you would have been cackling in gleeful delight for weeks, if not months, had I fallen victim to it. And thirdly, water on this new world is indeed still water and not, say, acid or something similarly caustic, as Archibald learned by recklessly jumping into a pit that in retrospect was probably just a well. We also found a pair of klaven creation pools, empty, hinting ominously as to the planned fates of the Rhydorn brothers. But our most important discovery was a kitchen and its well-stocked pantry containing actual, edible food, which we raided with wild abandon and gorged ourselves silly.
Baeden seemed keen to await his brother's return, but we persuaded him that this probably wasn't the wisest course of action. He was free of his cell and his guards were dead, and if Lomrick were to return along with his brother, doubtless he would be blamed. If instead he guided us towards Zel-Argose along his usual route, we would likely be able to spot his brother's approach, or possibly even lay an ambush to surprise Lomrick if the opportunity arose. We settled on a compromise. The ruins, while derelict, still seemed defensible, and so we would use them to rest the night. If Caeftin didn't show up by morning, the plan was to leave for Zel-Argose on foot. In truth, rest be damned but I wished to set out immediately. A center of trade is often a center of learning, and perhaps the locals have their own version of the Conjecture. Maybe someone here has even proven it already! The anticipation left me as giddy and excited as Naia on the eve of, well, pretty much every birthday, ever. A proper rest was going to be difficult.
The trek to Zel-Argose amounted to a long hike in the desert under a pair of mid-day suns. Disappointingly, the slog through an entirely alien environment was surprisingly mundane. Small scraggly plants looked like small scraggly plants and rocks looked like rocks. Most of the wildlife living in the area made the entirely rational decision to stay out of the sun and thus remained safely out of sight, wisdom your people learned millennia ago, I'm sure. If I had charged for every time someone asked me to conjure them up some water, I would have made off like a bandit. But we did find some excitement out amongst the dusty dunes. First we came upon a corpse, humanoid, not exactly freshly dead, which was spotted just off of our path of travel. It lay amongst scattered debris that looked as if most of its belongings had spontaneously detonated across its body. Curiously, a pair of magical potions had somehow escaped this violence. Opening one of them to identify its contents released the entity trapped inside, a living spell of some kind designed to explosively shatter objects. It was only a miraculous chain of unlikely events that allowed us to eventually shove the thing back into its bottle. In retrospect, I would hazard a guess that the poor victim ran out of water along its travels and decided to risk a drink from one of the 'potions' at its hip. Perhaps they were even found nearby, left over munitions from the war. Next, early on the second morning, a local ankheg variant emerged from the ground and attempted to bully Ignacio into a breakfast date. It was very grabby, unable to take no for an answer, and was halfway to dragging her off to some underground lair before we managed to kill it. And finally, later that same afternoon we spotted the dust cloud of an approaching caravan that did indeed turn out to be Baeden's brother Caeftin returning for him. I don't recall who won the betting pool on that outcome, but it was not me.
Caeftin was an interesting character; one part charming hick and the other part crafty snake. The remaining ride to Zel-Argose he regaled us with stories of Argosa's longstanding tradition of strategic neutrality alternated with fables of Santa Baba Yaga, a mythical creature that slid down chimneys to break into people's homes at night and make off with their misbehaving children. There was also a bit about a chicken-legged hut being pulled by eight flying iguanas, but my mind had wandered back to familiar territory by that point and I completely failed to register the moral of this meandering narrative, which was something about how you never kill the dog.
The scene of Zel-Argose finally coming into view did not disappoint. Straddling the Kaebrus River as it flowed down from the mountains, the large metropolis, reportedly home to nearly one hundred seventy-five thousand souls, sat in an oasis of green fields. A large tower near its edge spiked into the sky to provide mooring for a variety of flying ships. Bustling with activity, it was easy to get lost in the city. Baeden offered that the best way to find what one was looking for was to hire a guide, locally known as a head. Predictably, this led to a fair number of awkward conversations, as Baeden wasn't actually suggesting we wander about trying to solicit oral sex from the citizenry. Rather, these guides typically wore green armbands, and it was relatively common to see them waiting idle near prominent landmarks. In this fashion we managed to find the appropriate shops and markets to buy and sell the various tools and treasures we had accumulated along the way. It was about here that the bahgra had had enough of us, and took their leave to presumably spread the word of Corn far and wide. Still unsure as to how to find her way back to her own home world, Maria Andretto decided to stay with us a little while longer. Perhaps the transit to Argosa has unduly affected her, as she has seemed more distant and withdrawn as of late.
Zel-Argose claims to be home to a dozen ring gates connected to various worlds. These gates are controlled by cabals colloquially called Coteries, some of whom manage more than one gate. The city used to have more of them, but in some past disagreement with the Ultari Hegemony, one ring gate was destroyed by a Coterie named the Thanex. Given this history, making contact with the Thanex seemed like a reasonable priority. Would it surprise you to learn that, for a few days at least, we completely ignored it? Glowin has remained near comatose since our arrival to Argosa, and Ignacio has taken to spoon-feeding him by hand. Archibald and Flint, so fascinated by the airships busy in the skies, rushed out to learn everything they could about them. And my own inquiries led me to a knowledge broker of sorts called The Effector, who pointed me towards the Institute of Numerical Dancing on the world of Ayatine as a likely source of aid in my quest to prove the Third Conjecture.
Since it appeared that we might need to stay in the city for some time yet, Flint inexplicably decided to purchase a house. You would be forgiven for assuming that someone with four legs and a tail would be the least likely of our troupe to want to put down roots, but with the prospect of free lodging, we weren't about to look a gift horse in the buttocks. At the very least, we now had some relative privacy, not to mention actual workspace, to go about replacing the memory crystal of the clockwork spy with the one we had found hidden in Lomrick's office. The second message was as follows: “Supervisor Garabool, this is Officer Lomrick reporting from Garsilt. I’ve made a vastly important discovery in our efforts for the Celestial Helix. Test subjects removed from the newly discovered world we found appear to have the exact Patron coding we need; however, I’m experiencing problems with Garsilt’s gate again. It maintains a stable connection to Argosa but has proven unreliable and intermittent when trying to reach other worlds, especially this most promising one. I’m temporarily evacuating to Argosa to ensure I don’t get stuck on Garsilt. In light of our profound discovery with these test subjects, I’m enlisting aid from our assets in Zel-Argose. We can’t afford to lose contact with a planet this valuable now that we’ve found a sign as important as this. Glory in our lifetime! I will endeavor to secure a new communication link from Argosa, as soon as possible. Lomrick out."
After making some discreet inquiries, it turns out that the nine Coteries of Zel-Argose pretty much run the place. The person nominally in charge, the Auditor Jahera Fire-Eyes, was secretly appointed by them and basically serves their interests. While far from lawless, Zel-Argose's guiding philosophy essentially boils down to "Do as you will, but do not interfere with commerce; the spice must flow." The Coteries themselves are criminal cartels that came into power when they realized the importance of locking down control of the ring gates, and who subsequently achieved some small measure of legitimacy and respectability. Each controls at least one gate, and three of them, the Avaar, Nambrin and Thanex, control two. At whatever table at which they gather to make decisions, one gate equals one vote. And while they enjoy the thin veneer of serving as the city's de facto aristocracy, they still operate as vastly up-scaled thieves' guilds. There is so much of this that feels familiar that, setting aside the lack of abject terror at turning a blind corner, I'm pretty sure you'd find yourself right at home. And yes, I see it too. The existence of a thirteenth gate will very likely trigger a power struggle to gain control of it.
My companions seem hell-bent on making a name for themselves. This is so ill-advised in the current environment that I still struggle to articulate it. Why yes, let's attempt to make the short-list of destabilizing forces in the neighbourhood. What are nine different criminal organizations going to do about it? Why not give Lomrick the opportunity to rush us at his convenience with the small army of klaven he has at his disposal? He only wants to forcibly suck out all of our bone marrow. Maybe he'll make an appointment with our agent. What it has done is given me many ideas for spell research, but the ones I keep circling back to tend towards some kind of sense-slapping hand. Perhaps I should simply save some effort and explain that yes, owl's wisdom needs to be delivered with a forceful slap to the face to work properly. Alternatively, it can be administered anally, of course.
Emboldened by kicking a petty band of drug-dealing street toughs to the curb at the increasingly hysterical urgings of a plant-based Karen, the party decided to try its hand at the city's Battle Pits. Well, I opted out, having lost enough of my friends to your revolting Blood Pits all those years ago, I didn't particularly feel the need to relive the experience. This was a similar concept but with fewer slaves, arguably evenly matched sides, and just as much side-betting as you would expect. My companions called themselves "Not Dead Yet", a note I will happily add to their monuments when the time comes, and fought something called a transposer, which I am told looked pretty terrifying in its natural form. And good on them they actually managed to defeat it.
The party later met with a Polautle Tarny of the Avaar Coterie, which is more commonly known as the Coterie of Light. He made it clear that our inquiries towards the Thanex Coterie with regards to Lomrick had made some ripples, and allowed that he had information that might help us if we would only deal with a small matter for them. A trifle, really; barely an inconvenience. One of their rivals, the Daytaar Coterie, had brazenly stolen from them, and while the items had already been recovered, he still wished a message to be sent in return. This message was to be at our discretion, but it needed to be forceful enough to properly register, if surreptitious enough to be deniable. We were promptly aimed at a Daytaar Coterie safehouse hidden underneath a cenotaph to some poorly-remembered hero from Zel-Argose's distant and storied past. This particular hidey-hole held a quartet of rather surprised occupants whom we quickly overwhelmed and took prisoner, explaining in no uncertain terms whom we represented and what would happen differently if we were inconvenienced into returning. Satisfied with our results, Polautle gave us our first bona fide lead--he explained that Lomrick had come to the Avaar with questions in regards to an elali named Relstanna, and her known associate, the jaskirri Kaetrix, who are known to frequent a tavern called the Weave-Runner.
Following a painful series of discussions as to how to best stake out the Weave-Runner for our quarry, we settled on going there first to see what we were up against. As luck would have it, we arrived at mid-day to witness a calm but hurried evacuation of its premises. Inside we found a jaskirri in a defensive posture, surrounded by four, at first glance, not-quite-were-rats. Not especially concerned by this development, the bartender was rapidly relocating breakables to a shelf below the bar with practiced efficiency. The jaskirri visibly reacted when someone mentioned the name Kaetrix, and so we went to work subduing the not-quite-were-rats hounding her. After we explained why we were looking for her, she confided that her colleague Relstanna had been abducted by Lomrick and was being held at his home, and she offered to pay us to free her.
Auspiciously, during our conversation Kaetrix came across as something of a historian, and she mentioned that the current cold war between the Bellianac Accord and the Hegemony was essentially an extension of a much older war between two groups called the Patrons and the Principalities, respectively. Allegedly, it was the Patrons who had built the ring gates. But it boded well that somebody actually knows something about the conflict, whereas everyone else we have asked about the matter have simply shrugged whatever served as their shoulders with indifference.
After Kaetrix made herself scarce, another agonizingly chaotic discussion ensued, this one over how best to break into Lomrick's mansion. It was only by interrogating the not-quite-were-rats that we arrived at our not-quite-a-plan. These shitheads, who confessed that they had indeed been hired to goatnap Kaetrix for Lomrick, called themselves the Skaadorn Skulks. They professed to be independent operators in the seedy, overly permissive society of Zel-Argose, a band of something called night-skulk skinwalkers, which are distantly related to the more familiar lycanthropes of our world, and they were told to simply deliver the prisoner to Lomrick's front door. Not looking to overly complicate things, we did just that in their stead, only substituting one of our own to play the part of the prisoner in the hopes that it would at least get our feet in the door. We still succeeded at overly complicating things, mind you.
The servants who opened the front door only half-bought our ridiculous story, so we knocked them out quickly. The not-quite-were-rats lounging one room over took a little more convincing, but also got there in the end. During the verbal portion of our exchange, one of the servants had mentioned that Lomrick was in his laboratory, so we explored room-by-room searching for that. The first floor of the mansion didn't hold anything of note until we got to Lomrick's study, where a trapped desk contained some choice correspondence along with some potentially elucidating reading material. The mansion's rear entrance led to a walled garden, some overly aggressive vampire rosebushes and a so-translucent-as-to-be-almost-invisible ooze colloquially known as a slithering tracker. A storage room attached to the building contained a larder and general gardening tools, as well as a hidden set of stairs leading underground. Now kids, if you're going to do secret experiments at home, it's a good idea to hide your workshop in the basement, and make access to it out-of-the-way, so your dinner guests don’t accidentally find it while hunting for the privy and start asking awkward questions over the third course.
As we made our descent, a pair of klaven arrived to investigate the commotion we were making, followed quickly by another pair once we were spotted. We stuffed their bodies in an adjacent room, conveniently a morgue, where someone had been busy gruesomely putting together a patchwork golem-like monstrosity from miscellaneous body parts. During the klaven fight, Ignacio had a bit of a freakout after she started climbing the walls like a drider for a better position overhead, realized that humans weren't supposed to be able to do that sort of thing, and fell to the floor hoping nobody noticed. Oh, we all noticed. Then she went into hysterics trying to cover it all up, claiming she never knew, that it came as a total shock, blah-blah-blah, and yeah, nobody bought that either. The claws and the ability to see in the dark have been dead giveaways for ages. Mostly nobody cared, it's not like anyone else was human, and so all of her waterworks were just wasted effort. After the jig is up, there's not much point in trying to play others for fools. Although, given that most of the party are barely out of their nappies and generally act like hyperactive toddlers, perhaps playing us for fools was fair.
We propped some of the human cadavers from the morgue up against the wall and let them flop back down to show Ignacio how it was supposed to work, but she only hissed at us and backed herself into a ceiling corner. No one could convince her to come back down so we just left her that way and continued exploring.
The next chamber contained some empty klaven pools which we fucked with on general principle, but the room after that held a female elali imprisoned within a glass cell. A short game of charades escalated very quickly once we realized her dramatic gestures were actually an attempt to warn us of the fungal monster bearing down on us from above. And wouldn't you know it but Ignacio missed an incredible opportunity to fight on her home turf, as it were, as the thing stubbornly stuck to the ceiling just out of reach of our weapons all the while casting spells and launching its tentacles down at us. Once it had finally been dealt with, we returned our attention to the elali in her prison, which unfortunately turned out to be physically stronger than one would have guessed. With obvious exasperation, she pantomimed looking for a key, and so off we went.
Running low on fresh doors to open, the next set revealed another faux-glass prison, only this one contained a roiling mass of flesh, eyes, mouths and teeth. I had never seen one of these things before, but given its nightmarish description I assume that it was probably a gibbering mouther. We thought it trapped similarly to the elali, but it was actually toying with us. A near-imperceptible door in the glass of one side slid up at its touch, and almost before we knew what was happening it lurched out, opened one of its many maws impossibly wide, and swallowed the decataur whole. Luckily, Flint had been wearing the strange belt we found him with that shrank him down from his natural size, and he had the epiphany to unbuckle it before he was properly digested, which resulted in him exploding out of the monster's side in a wet, gooey mess. This was almost too much for the creature to bear, and while it didn't last long after that, once it finally stopped convulsing we also felt the need for a bit of a lie-down.
The room contained one more set of double-doors, and we were confident we hadn't missed any secret passages along the way; Lomrick was still down here somewhere. We desperately needed to rest and recover, but we also didn't want the jagladine to escape with his prisoner while we were gone, so we settled on a compromise. Archibald would while away the hours maintaining a blockade of the final set of doors with his pillars and towers, while the remainder took a nap nearby. He was kept busy, as after a few hours those he had trapped attempted to break their way free. Once suitably refreshed, the party regrouped and pressed forward. Beyond were a half dozen klaven and their alchemist commander, the infamous Lomrick, whom we easily identified by his megalomaniacal monologue. Unlike us, they had spent the last six hours futilely wasting themselves trying to break through walls that were being replaced faster than they could fall. It wasn't even a contest.
In the end, we showed the captured not-quite-were-rats the gaping hole in Lomrick's chest, explaining that he wasn't actually going to be able to pay for whatever services he had contracted from them, and sent them scurrying out the door. The servants we similarly let go with apologies for any bruising (and a small purse for their troubles). And the elali did indeed turn out to be Relstanna, whom we eventually succeeded in freeing, offering explanations as to who we were and why we had been looking for her. Unfortunately, it seems that Lomrick had been misinformed, as she did not actually possess the knowledge to repair a ring gate, or even know where such information might be had, but she claimed to be a sworn enemy of the Ultari Hegemony with many contacts across various worlds, and promised to ask around. And as for the mansion, well… if Lomrick had any objections to us moving in, he has yet to voice them.
I didn't just try to kill you, you ruinous old fool, I succeeded. And I assure you that the next time I will find a way to make it stick.
What did you do to me? I was never so sentimental. Now all I want is to find my daughter. I'm drowning in a flood of fear and worries I don't remember ever having before. How did she turn out? Is she okay? Happy? Does she have a family of her own now? Did she mourn us? Who took care of her? Did she inherit the curse? Where is my daughter! Instead I remain trapped in this alien place with you and the boy.
What was it you confided in me when I first spied you in my father's cage? A wink and a whispered "It is every prisoner's duty to escape." Well it took you years, but I'll grant that you found a way. I'm not willing to wait years. I don't want to wait hours. It will take time to find the right levers of power here and bend them to my will. An intolerable amount of time, and no small measure of luck. And even that is no guarantee of returning home. Or if I do that I can even find her again. Just how much time has passed?
Okay, I'm beginning to see the merits of your little stratagem. Damn you but I'll play along. For now.
So, you remember that elali, Relstanna? It appears she was a little coy about her affiliations. After some time looking into things (namely us) she confessed she was actually a full-fledged, card-carrying member of the Bellianac Accord all along. And oh how convenient, but another gate in the city has started working again, this one leading to a Patron world named Rythes. Relstanna claims that there's a good chance there may be information on the other side on how to fix ring gates, especially given that this one has long been thought to be completely dead. Unfortunately, none of the expeditions sent through so far have been able to find their way back, so it's still considered a huge gamble. The gate is currently in the claws of a small fry sarlu drug lord who is planning on trying to leverage it into the legitimacy of his own Coterie and grabbing a seat at Zel-Argose's grown-ups table.
Naturally we paid Mr. Sarlu a visit. He is open to letting us explore through the Red Gate, but seeing as it will likely be a one-way trip he wanted to get some work out of us first. He had us clean his pool, then open a puzzle-box someone had left for him he couldn't figure out on his own, but mostly he wanted us to deal with a disgruntled ex-employee of his who had somehow managed to kidnap both his wife and half of his drug supply. And by "deal with" I mean "betray at a critical moment" because apparently this giant telepathic crab thinks of himself as a Playa and foolishly believes that that is how a Playa handles these kinds of things. The ex-employee, a bahgra named Basher, turned out to be exactly as small-minded and easily manipulated as he appeared. We chewed through him and his men with ruthless efficiency, and I hope wannabe king crab was paying attention, because if he fucks us over I have half a mind to slowly boil him alive and serve him with butter. I considered doing it anyway, but we'd still need some way to hold the gate while we go exploring, and it appears you have not been very good at making allies.
Now I want to kill you for squandering your time here.
My younger self would never have been so cavalier as to simply step through that portal. I considered buying a potion of water breathing until I checked the meager purse you left me with. In hindsight, I should have sold a spellbook to make it work. Instead I found myself drowning on arrival. The sight of it would have warmed your cold and desiccated heart, I'm sure, but almost immediately one of Archibald's pillars pushed me up towards an orange-grey sky and breathable air.
The gate left us not far from a beach, and the architect made stepping stones to shore. Dry land didn't have all that much going for it; the common, familiar grey stone was only occasionally interrupted by some feeble, hardscrabble flora. We were greeted by an elderly dwarf who emerged from a ramshackle hut hidden halfway up a ridge. Calling himself Hannigal, he clearly suffered from some form of dementia. Conversing with him was a difficult, frustrating affair which should never be repeated, but we weathered his repetitions long enough to at least get directions to a nearby settlement. And honestly, Fort Fuckall didn't turn out to be much better. Its inhabitants make Ustalavs seem downright warm and welcoming in comparison. Like the land, everyone there was some combination of miserable and surly. Either that or they were desperate to convince us to give them a ride out of town. It was only once we agreed to get rid of a monster for them that the bar owner, Wuli, would tell us anything of substance. To whit, we're completely fucked. Nobody around here knows anything about ring gates, excepting that the one we arrived through is one-way. The expeditions that preceded us have long since moved on to destinations unknown, which is entirely understandable given just how little this place had to offer. Our best bet would be to inquire at some of the monasteries scattered about, which may have kept some historical records.
We killed their monster which, I'm not going to lie, looked like the stuff of nightmares I haven't had since childhood. I have half a mind to try to replicate it someday. The villagers were happy, though, and we were offered a (paying) job to deliver some armour to the nearby Baron Yacob of Merebec. The monster had been regularly preying on the local livestock, a kind of beetle/cow whose chitin can be fashioned into armour, which the local foundry... Who am I trying to kid? Nobody cares. But Merebec also has a monastery dedicated to a Saint Albat of the Soil, so maybe this delivery will get us an introduction.
I had a thought as to why the gate from Argosa is one-way, and maybe even a possible way to change that, but I don't think I trust you enough to make it work. Which is too bad, because if we were to bring some decent druids here, we could probably make a fortune in sea shells and moss.
The trek to Troublebutt in the Barony of Merebec took us two days by camel and wagon. We did our utmost to avoid trouble until we reached a fortified bridge over a fast-moving river. The small handful of troops manning its defenses acted like bandits, and so naturally we treated them as such. But… it turned out that they actually were some of Baron Yakob's men, even if their exorbitant demands were rather self-serving. Oh well, lessons learned all around, and they only lost two men.
The bridge marked the end of the worn-out dirt road we had been using and the beginning of an ancient stone causeway built by one of the preceding civilizations. It was still in very good shape, all things considered. We followed it along the coastline until we reached a checkpoint, this one recently attacked and seriously damaged. Inside were the bodies of humans and gnolls haphazardly strewn about, looted where they had fallen. Noticing that one gnoll was still barely alive, we treated his wounds in exchange for an account of the events. It was a sad tale as old as sin. The gnoll had fallen in with some kind of bird-man (whom we quickly dubbed "Goldfeather") and they had agreed to go a-raiding together, until Goldfeather double-crossed him and his pack and left them all for dead. Outside we found another survivor, one of the checkpoint's guards named Brennan Quall. Taking pity on him, we offered him a seat on our wagon into town.
From just north of the checkpoint, we observed the ground become increasingly blanketed by a thick, green moss, as well as the occasional short, stunted tree. We stopped to chat with the first moss farmer we encountered, a kenku named Kesko Mollot. Also originally hailing from Zel-Argose, he arrived some twenty years prior, back when the Coterie of Light controlled the Red Gate on the down-low. An ardent follower of Saint Albat of the Soil, he credits the faith's efforts for the bounty of this region's lush mosses.
Troublebutt's gate-guards were all business, but they eventually let us in. They gave us the warning. I wonder if Goldfeather has them ruffled.
Baron Yacob turned out to be a pretty decent guy for someone in charge. He took possession of his armor delivery personally, and was willing to write us a letter of recommendation for the monasteries, but problematically, he didn't know us well enough to actually recommend us. The solution to our problem was to be a solution to one of his problems, as it were. A situation had arisen at a nearby sandstone quarry that he wasn't willing to throw any of his locals at, but recently-arrived expendables like us were just fine.
Given we had reached Troublebutt late in the day, we spent the evening relaxing at Moss Beard's Tavern, awkwardly trying to connect with the blue-skinned cyandi natives. An albino tengu was also in attendance (Killik, aka Goldfeather!) accompanied by an obviously up-to-no-good wayang (Shui the Gnome Assassin!), but when Flint started chatting them up a large, one-eyed krang came over to quietly warn us off. He called himself Kedri, and said he had arrived on Rythes about two years ago. The krang was looking for sheets of glass with unusual patterns, convinced that the Patrons used such things to store important information, and was headed next to the Abbey of Saint Oolaav. He suggested we pool our forces and join him.
The morning saw us blowing off both Kedri and Killik to deal with the Baron's quarry quandary. He was forced to shut it down because miners started getting sick after a recent excavation opened up a sealed-off tunnel. What we found was an old, actual worked-stone passageway leading to a large, asymmetrical chamber. It contained innumerable decayed bodies on the floor, a glowing stone at the far end and three ghoulish, gargoyle-like undead lying in wait. Curiously, most of the corpses were cyandi, and some of them had been dead no more than a few months, which begs the question as to just how sealed-off the passage had been to begin with. The reddish-orange glowing stone rested on an ornate pedestal and displayed patterns reminiscent of some of those playing over the Red Gate boundary we arrived through. Approaching it proved increasingly difficult. Glowin determined that it was radiating strongly and that not only was it likely the cause of the workers falling ill, but also that it may actually be the source of the regional moss growth spurt. Speculation arose as to whether it could be used to the power the defunct gate back up, or that it may have been moved here, possibly even by the resident cyandi, after the Great Calamity struck. Ultimately we decided not to fuck with it for the time being, but Glowin did take a souvenir in the form of a similarly glowing stone shard, several of which were found scattered around the pedestal base.
It took two and a half days following a dry riverbed to reach Saint Albat of the Soil, and the monastery completely defied our expectations. In truth, it appeared to us unlearned heathens as a loose collection of near-naked mud-covered folk not-quite-aimlessly wandering about the area. Some would occasionally find shelter from the beating sun by burying themselves in the dirt or by lying down underneath tin sheets. Frequent designs on the ground resembled those on an artifact we had recovered, but that was about all to suggest we had actually arrived at our intended destination. We were anathema, and nobody would talk to us or wanted to interact with us in any way. Flint eventually followed one of them to a hidden hut where, after reading Baron Yakob's letter of reference, one actually troubled herself to explain to us that there was nothing for us there and we should leave. Well that tune abruptly changed after we showed her the aforementioned glass artifact. Her name was Sister Kaolin and she was the abbess of the monastery. She wanted to know everything about the various living systems of all the worlds we had so far visited, as the followers of Saint Albat were trying to safeguard what knowledge they could of such things for the time when Rythes could begin its rebirth.
Sister Kaolin took it that we were carrying the glass artifact as a sign we were heralds of the coming change and allowed us to visit Saint Albat's tomb. We descended a cistern to find a chamber filled with writing on the walls in a similar alphabet to the symbols on the artifact. It detailed a history of Rythes, confusingly unclear as to whether the Patrons arrived or were born here. They had made the ring gates, and warred with the Principalities across many worlds. The Patrons had used a kind of technology to make Rythes "perfect" in some way, but the Principalities were somehow able to corrupt it, killing much of the life on the planet. There was subsequently a mass exodus, the gates were damaged, and the survivors that remained formed the various monasteries scattered about the peninsula. The writings also referred to the concept of the Opus Eternum, a kind of repository of gate-building knowledge.
Exploring further we found a blocked-off chamber proclaiming to be Saint Albat's tomb, but approaching the body on the bier only saw us attacked by the undead monstrosity resting on it. Another sealed passage led to us all nearly being eaten alive by a room full of ravenous worms. But one of the walls in that chamber seemed suspicious, and after a rather lengthy recuperation, we returned to break it open. Beyond was a more modest tomb, with a body encased in hardened mud in the style of the local monks. After carefully removing some of the mud we were rewarded with another glass shard. Bringing the two together to compare resulted in both glowing when in close proximity. And putting our heads together in an unprecedented display of teamwork we were able to confirm that they did indeed contain information about ring gates and star charts.
It seemed heartless to simply leave at that point, and so we brought all of this to the attention of the abbess. Over the intervening centuries, the monks had somehow lost the ability to read the language they had been dutifully transcribing. Consequently, we spent a few more days translating the writings on the antechamber walls for them, thereby establishing the Gospels according to Archie, Glowin, Saledar and Flint.
How pathetic. If only your mother could see you now. First you very nearly drown, and then you get turned to stone. She would be livid! You need to be more careful, she would have said. You need to stow that unwarranted braggadocio and be proactive, be prepared. Confidence is one thing, but that was completely reckless and stupid, plain and simple. Mostly she would have been ashamed. That was not the child she raised. It most assuredly was the child she raised, but she would never admit to that, not unlike how you are utterly incapable of owning up to your own faults. Some people may have been able to pull off what you tried to do. Other people. Better people. All you did was show off your weaknesses for others to exploit. Congratulations. Go back to fuming under your breath and grinding your teeth, and enjoy your well-deserved time-out.
The other major development precipitated by the encounter with the basilisk was Glowin's transition into someone that self-identifies as Kcor. I don't think anyone knows what exactly this means just yet, but as a potential party name "Freaks and Geeks" seems increasingly appropriate.
The Sacred Caves of Saint Menande were home to someone's idea of a sick joke, one of those "Ha, ha, wouldn't it be funny if…" ideas taken to its logical extreme. The resident sun-worshiping monks were enchanted to communicate only in harmonious song by some opportunistic fey that had gotten rid of the monastery's original leadership before taking over. Interestingly, it also appeared to have had some form of height-based inferiority complex, as none of the monks were over four feet tall. Quite possibly it thought gnomes and halflings simply sounded better, musically, and ejected the rest. In any case, we could not let such blatant racism stand, and so went out of our way to restore the previous abbess, Stevie Nixie, ultimately walking away with three more glass artifacts for our troubles.
Pressing forward in hopes of rendezvousing with the krang Kedri, things took a deliberate turn towards the shitter once we arrived at the edge of Hargo Lake.
One of the furry captains recognized Flint… One of the ferry captains recognized us and quickly came over with a quiet warning that Kedri had been arrested by the constabulary of the True Veleate, which in recent years has outlawed anything related to arcane magic as heresy to their local faith, the Boon Morrow. Captain Jini offered to bring us to the city, where we hoped to try rescuing him, or barring that, at the very least retrieve any glass shards he may have recovered. The arcane sort stayed aboard ship while the rest set out to reconnoiter, and it is certainly testament to how woefully under-equipped we were that we were able to so easily divest ourselves of what meager magics we possessed before testing the patience of the dock's customs agents. But the scouting party did return successfully, not to mention sober, with information that Kedri had been exiled to the Isle of Orange, and that any of his sanctioned belongings might still be waiting to be catalogued in the Port-master's warehouse.
It would be an exaggeration to say the subsequent heist of the warehouse was difficult. There were a few tense moments, but patience and confidence ultimately paid off, allowing Flint to make off with the contents of the contraband locker without anyone being any the wiser. In truth, it reminded me a little of some of our bad old days pulling off shenanigans around Zirnakaynin, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me a touch nostalgic. But while we did recover a few items that were distinctly Kedri's, that did not include any more glass shards. Captain Jini agreed to liaise for us with a local smugglers network, which is how we acquired the resources to swim under the Veleate's patrols to reach the Isle of Orange, so named for the conspicuously giant pillar of light emanating from somewhere near the island's center, bathing the local landscape in a distinctly familiar hue of reddish-orange.
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