Nirmathas Secrets

The Ustalav Wilderness
Sessions 31-??

10 Neth 4665
The party must travel through Ustalav’s wilderness to the Monastery of the Veil…

The party decided to return to Ustalav shores on a ship from Tamran where they prepared themselves and researched Ixiolander The Undying and The Anephexia. They agreed with a suggestion from Tessara Ilverazto that they should leave the ship at a abandoned beach instead of returning to Caliphas. This meant 8 days of land travel, provided nothing slowed them down.

14 Neth 4665
The party took a lifeboat to the beach, and began their travel on foot. The first day’s travel was rather quiet, but Ustalav is not a safe place even in the evening. Before night completely fell they were attacked by two Baykoks. The party defeated them rather quickly, but the encounter reminding them they should not take this trip lightly. Additionally, they woke in the morning to a rather large and quickly approaching wildfire. They decided to get out of its way rather than try and put the fire out.

15 Neth 4665
The morning fire meant a quick clearing of camp and early start to travel. They were making good time when just before midday they encountered a wagon with a farmer and his family escaping the same fire. The farmer had fallen asleep driving the wagon all night and day. He explained to the party that they were trying to make there way to the town of Vauntil to start over. He also explained that he had risked such hard travel because the weather showed signs of fog and rain. He told of stories of ghosts, and other undead normally powerless during the day are able to move about in this weather. Ustalav’s past horrors meant the undead here were quite strong.

The party agreed to delay their travel the day it would take to escort the family to Vauntil. The farmer’s weather forcast was quite right, and by mid afternoon the fog and cloud cover was so thick visibility was limited to only a few feet. The spells used to speed the party’s travel were becoming less useful as the weather meant high speeds were dangerous for the horse and cart. With in a few hours they wandered into a set of ruins of a small village.

The fog was too thick to see enough of the area and realize where they were, so they didn’t realize their tresspass into a local legendary banshee’s realm. The banshee and her wraiths sensed the presence of life, which triggered their never ending conflict with each other. The banshee’s wail as the wraiths charged her killed the family, and nearly killed Gremalkin. He was knocked unconscious, before he could respond. The wraiths, as they’ve always done, charged the banshee, and attacked her once on their way to attack the living they could see.

The wraiths and banshee had never encountered such tough and blessed opponents before, Martuph and Faydra quickly dispatched the wraiths. This left the banshee confused, as her opponents were the wraiths. She waited in anger for the trespassers to act, her hatred bent on them, but her confusion at the lack of the wraiths gave her pause. Martuph and the rest saw this as a chance to leave. They grabbed the unconscious Gremalkin and moved away from the banshee. She followed them until the limits of the village at which point she stopped, waiting for new trespassers or the wraiths to re-manifest for their endless conflict.

Because of the fog, and the party’s need to separate while fleeing, it took the party the rest of the day to regather.

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Martuph's Time in Caliphas
Sessions 20 - 30

From 3 Lamashan to 3 Neth

GMs Note So much happened in this period inside and outside the game that neither I nor other players had a good chance to keep records for these dates. Here’s an admittedly poor summary of all the things that happened.

Gremalkin and Teshlandrel

Grem began a long regiment of exercise, body conditioning, and poison, antidote, drug, and preservative consumption. After this long regimen, he consumed a concoction that should have killed a normal man, or gnome, and went to sleep. He woke the next day, surprising many paladins and clerics who knew of his odd behavior and quietly observed.

Tesh changed the focus of his magical studies of scrying and divination. Instead of focusing on ways to defend himself from the divinations of Arazni, he focused his and other wizards and priests in Vigil on defeating whatever blocked their spells from finding Martuph. Many long nights, headaches, hallucinations, and visions of dark places later, he confirmed that Martuph was indeed alive and in the city of Caliphas. He found Grem and the made ready to teleport to the outskirts of Caliphas to hopefully join Faydra and Faeron in a more mundane search of the city.

Faydra, Faeron, and Tristram
The trio made it to a small river village of Woford. Tristram suggested they find passage on a riverboat here to speed their travel to Caliphas, but hopefully under less prying eyes. The village itself had problem with odd thefts and minor disease. The local priest was scared because of its similarities to ghoul fever, including treatment. However, no one had died (or become a ghoul). However, people were lapsing repeatedly. In a few days of investigation, the trio discovered there was a rogue crossing the river occasionally and stealing from people. He himself had some mutated version of ghoul fever that was destroying his mind, but his body had adapted to it and he survived as a carrier. He was captured, treated and jailed. The village was thankful, and helped the trio gain passage with little question.

The trip was not simple however, undead attacks from the riverbanks, weather, and unnatural delays plagued the trip. Worse, once they got to Caliphas, the city was a red and orange glow of flames. They found themselves entering a city under siege by legions of undead.

Martuph and Tessara
Martuph realized rather quickly that the mind of his captor was broken, split between the paladin it once was, and the lich-like horror she was made into. He messed with her a bit, prying at the brokenness of her mind in an attempt to get information on how to get out of her prison. The more he dug, the more of both sides of her lashed at him. He nearly died to her anger, but her confusion saved him. He realized that his identity had been mistaken, and that all this strange business with bloodstones and ancient paladins was closer to his fate than he’d ever imagined. The first Graveknight, Ghuzmaar, was his great uncle.

In life, he was Tessara’s lover, and her broken mind thought had decided that he was Ghuzmaar, and that the party had revived him, not destroyed him. Her paladin mind and heart wanted salvation, the corrupted arcanist wanted vengeance. Worse, both were loyal to Arazni, one as the savior of the living, the other as the Harlot Queen. The broken mind could hardly keep up with itself, Martuph found the task impossible.

In the end, Tessara’s time was running out, she knew that the others would arrive soon, and that the Whispering Way’s plans in Caliphas were almost complete. Both her aspects were getting ready to face Martuph one more time, demanding the truth. Her conversation with Martuph revealed who he really was, and that he was willing to help her, but could not do what she thought he could. She released him from his bindings, intending to follow him and either exact revenge for his lies, or see her salvation completed. She allowed him to mend her original holy symbol, a gift from Ghuzmaar before his corruption.

Martuph returned the holy symbol to her, and its touch caused her the first pain she’d felt in over a millennia. The pain however, was not severe, and over quickly and she found her mind much more at ease. The mad wizard-like changes were there, but she could think clearly. She had Martuph moved from a room full of unholy alters and bare walls and chains to a room with an actual bed. He fell on the bed from exhaustion and slept. She left and locked the room, and made it only a few steps before passing out in exhaustion herself. The Graveknight slept, for the first time since her capture.

She woke, more willing to work with Martuph, and confused. It was at this time that they discovered that while wearing the holy symbol, she was neither harmed nor healed by divine magic from any source but herself. They decided her path to salvation had begun, but then the Whispering Way struck, and she discovered how unprepared she was.

The siege of Caliphas was over a week long when the rest of the party arrived, Martuph, Tessara, and her minions (both living and dead) had been fighting along side the citizens of Caliphas, but the cult had planned well and buried themselves deeper into the city than anyone knew. Had the party not arrived when they did, Caliphas would have fell.

The fight for the city
The party came to the city from different entrances, but their strength allowed them to fight off legions of undead, and eventually find eachother. The discovery of Martuph’s situation was bizarre, and Faydra’s rash reaction to Tessara almost brought her death, but fast talking and a faster hammer saved both women from mutual destruction. The party then regrouped, and took the fight to the undead. After a few battles, they realized there was a section of the city that was untouched. The party, now with Tessara, went to investigate.

It was here that they discovered that the Whispering Way had acquired one of the Bloodstones, and an ancient, but relatively quiet lich was working with them. There first battle with the Lich and his zombie dragon was quick, but not decisive. The Lich escaped with the Bloodstone, but failed to trick the party into giving up the other two.

Now the party knows its next target, but first they must find him. To do so, they must go to the beginning, and assault the assassins who set them on this path at their home. They head for the Anaphexia’s Monastery of the Veil.

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The road to Caliphas
Session 19

2 Lamashan

Gremalkin
After the Mohrg encounter, Gremalkin decided he really needed to finish some of his personal projects to make him less vulnerable. Instead of trying to catch up to the already left party, he began searching local apothecaries and libraries for books, herbs, poisons, and exercise locations.

Faeron and Faydra
When Faeron and Faydra arrived at Vigil’s gate, they were met by Tristram Reis. He insisted on going with them, as he felt that even with their amazing talents, two people were not enough to travel the road to Caliphas alone.

It wasn’t long before he was proved right. Halfway through the first night, they were attacked by a group of ghoul bandits. Unlike is prior blunders, Tristram held himself well. They destroyed all the ghouls, including the rather sneaky one who’d attempted to escape via The Path River. Faydra used a lightning bolt spell to finish him. However, Faeron and Tristram were both in the water at the time. All survived, but after Faydra returned to her tent, Faeron and Tristram decided a late start the next day would be safer for all involved. Especially if it improved Faydra’s mood.

Martuph and Tessara Ilverazto

Martuph woke to his door opening. The woman who’d captured him, and tortured him for the last two days entered with a plate of food. Bread and meat, but when they were set in front of Martuph his stomach started to turn. Everything was old and spoiled. Tessara offered to feed him. “I realized that I haven’t been good to you. You need to eat now.”

The bread was only stale and hard. Martuph kept it down while she asked him questions.

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Whispering Interference
Session 18

Investigating Martuph’s disappearance led to an abandoned home in Vigil. The outside of the home was well kept, and paperwork showed taxes and upkeep were handled correctly. Once entering the house though, it was obvious from the dust and stale air that it was not actively lived in. Exploring led to a basement room. In the room was evidence of a ritual. There was also a transmutation aura of a teleportation spell. Said spell could not be traced.

The party now need to search for Martuph the hard way. They began preparations to travel. While preparing to leave Tristram Reis found Faydra and informed her that the guard station was questioning a visitor who may have information about Martuph. The two gathered Faeron and met another paladin and Gremalkin on a side street along with another paladin and two hooded figures.

The figures robes classed them as members of Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, and therefore quiet allies of Vigil in the city of Caliphas. The two figures were discussing with the guard that they were sent to inform Vigil that there was evidence that the Whispering Way had acquired one of the Bloodstones.

Unfortunately the members of the order had been killed shortly before arriving in Vigil, and the figures in their robes were morhgs created from their deaths. Once they realized they were in front of members of the group searching for the bloodstones, they attacked. The guard was killed, and Gremalkin was paralyzed in the assault. Faydra, Reis, and Faeron did manage to destroy the undead. Help was summoned, and one of the senior paladins arrived. He inspected the corpses and realized they had been turned less than an hour before arrival. This and their extreme agility in combat meant they could only be made by an ancient creature known as Erum-Hel . This information has put Faydra and Faeron on the road to Caliphas, while Gremalkin recovers from his paralysis and Teshladrel continues to fight the scrying blocks on Martuph.

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Martuph
Session 17

1 Lamashan 4665

Party:

The party discovered Martuph’s disappearance mid-morning. After working with the Knights guard and speaking with Tesh, they attempted to scry on Martuph. That scry is being blocked. The best they could get, even with rituals to increase the strength of the scry, was a south-westerly direction. Some investigation of the auras near the abduction led them to a building with a secret basement. This basement room had ritual markings they didn’t recognize.

Martuph and Tessara Ilverazto
Martuph woke in a room, chained to a table carved out of the stone floor, surrounded by mystical symbols involving a rapier and lotus. At first he accused this of being a nasty joke by Tesh. He began repeating the demand that Tesh let him loose. At some point in his rambling he asked why he was here.

Tessara, his captor, entered the room, “Because you’re alive.”

She began asking if he remembered her, or how he became alive. Martuph didn’t understand and answered sarcastically. Eventually her anger overpowered her calm. Tessara screamed at him and used her blast to shock him. She left the room for a day.

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Waking Up, and The Second Bloodstone
Session 16

21 Rova 4665 through 30 Rova 4665

Martuph followed Grem’s floating form for a bit of time before realizing his windwalking spell was slower than the current. Eventually he dove into river and allowed that to catch him up. He came upon most of the party washed up along a rock cropping. Here the water was hot and led into a crevice in stone. Grem was pulling unconscious members out of the water before they burned.

Martuph helped get people out and awake. Faydra and Faeron were out of the water, but Tavius hadn’t shown up yet. Martuph saw blood trickling up from below the water’s surface, and went down to check.

Instead of finding Tavius, he found another bleeding canopic jar. Not knowing exactly what it was, but sensing its mixed magics he and Grem pulled it out of the stones it was lodged in. Once Faeron was awake, they knew they had another of the Bloodstones.

Tavius’s form had yet to come downriver, the party was awake and discussing the stone they found. A struggling bird was heard, and looking about Faydra saw a bag in the river. It was Tavius’s bag, and Setius, his falcon, was stuffed in it. Fearing for Tavius now, the party got themselves out of the subterranean ravine and Martuph and Faydra used flight spells to search for Tavius. They found him, he’d hit the side of the cliff several times on the way down. His broken body never made it to the water.

The remaining party returned to Kromaz’s city in mixed morale. They’d defeated Barabus, but at the loss of a friend. When they arrived, they were greeted with cheers and boasts as Kromaz’s clan praised their Chieftan’s shaman-daughter. They also prepared for the coming horde. Darkness had lasted long enough that the order for other orcs to march was given. The horde was marching for human lands, but the Bloodfists would face them. The party wanted to protect the human lands. The Bloodfists just wanted to slaughter the orcs who followed the orders of a dead, weak, coward.

Tesh returned to acquire Tavius’s body for burial, and to help with facing the horde. He stayed until down to his last teleport, which he used to take Tavius to a grove in the fangwood.

The rest of the party, Kromak, Kromaz, Zharog and the strongest of Kromaz’s warriors faced the remaining part of the horde within reach. By this time even Faydra and Martuph were out of massive area spells. The fighting was arrows, and melee. The party and Faydra’s family caught a group of orcs and Trolls at one of the partially built walls. Exhausted, they fought anyway, and still dispatched the orcs and trolls in a few minutes, finally ending the fight within reach of Bloodspring.

A night’s revelry and day’s rest followed, but only that. The party needed to return to Lastwall with the second Bloodstone, and Grask Uldeth had arrived. He wanted the Bloodfists to help him storm Urgir and take hold of the land.

The trip back to Vigil was slow and rather un-eventful. Once there, Faeron told of their journey. They then began what they hoped was a few weeks rest and preparation to find the rest of the stones.

Three days later, Martuph was finally working on his shield in a forge he was requesting time in. He worked on it all day. The last stroke of his hammer, and prayer to Torag rang true. The shield glowed brightly with holy power of Torag. He held it and smiled, but then the light dimmed, and a voice spoke from behind him.

“Sorry about this Ghuz.”

Martuph turned around in time for an arrow already in flight to hit him in the neck. Stunned, unable to breath he began to collapse as a hooded elven woman approached him, bow in hand.

“I know that hurt, but I’ve got to bring you back. The mistress sent me, and said you were lost. Here I find you alive! You must tell me how when we get somewhere safe.”

The last thing Martuph saw was the woman catch him, he felt a dark power heal his wound enough to survive before loosing consciousness.

The party wok on the first of Lamashan late, many slept in, there was no banging of an anvil to wake them.

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The depths Barabus went
Sessions 12-15

21 Rova 4665
The party followed Kromaz’s men to a back entrance to the ruins Barabus was exploring. The first level contained orcs, ogres and gnolls that were trading with Barabus. Dispatching a few of them allowed the party to move through the first section. As they moved through Faydra and Martuph examined carvings and paintings. Many are damaged, but enough was there for Martuph to recognize ruins as the location described in the texts he translated under duress for the orcs who captured him at a younger age.

This enraged Martuph, he charged into the next section almost blindly, but the true blindness of the new environment slowed him. The area was dark beyond his extraordinary ability to see, with only blackness and strange constellations hovering in view. The party examined the first room they entered. They found that spells to bring light were instantly suppressed. The walls, floor and ceiling were made to make the blackness seem infinitely expansive to those close enough to see it. Contact with the walls allowed spell-casters to hear that ritual magic was used to keep the rooms dark and mist filled. One room had a few orc mystics expanding the ritual.

Combat with the mystics lead to Martuph using a silence spell, which broke down the magic coming from the walls long enough to see and fight the mystics. Grem and Faeron moved to another room during combat. The range of the silence spell allowed them to see a statue to some ancient cult. They destroyed it, this broke the ritual for a large section of the second level. The party was able to navigate the second level after this and find the way to the third.

The third level was a single space. A room leading to a cave opening deep in a large cavern. Further down the cavern was a fast flowing river, up the cavern wall lead to the surface. A large model of the star system was there, and so were more mystics, Barabus, his darkness infused shaman Murshofan, and two shadows of ancient human sorcerers. Barabus and his guard engaged the party, and the sorcerers and Murshofan kept the ritual going until it was at its climax. They then joined the fray as the remaining mystics began to sacrifice themselves. Once the orcs and shadows were defeated Faeron and Faydra attempted to stop the sacrifices, and martuph smashed the magic infused model. This stopped the ritual, but released huge amounts of raw magical energy, and brought the cave down around them. The only way to survive was to jump, and hope the river was deep enough to break their fall. Many lost consciousness, only Grem and Martuph made it down awake.

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Being an orc is no excuse

so after watching the orc chief and my half-orc friend slay dinner. i took a bite of my bird leg flame kissed as it was. i walked up to the old orc who i suspect is the real leader of the orcs. i keep this thought to myself of course. I ask for three members of the tribe to teach how to make bricks. he offered 3 humans i said no i need an orc they need to learn to make bricks too. morning came around and i started my hammering in Torag’s name and this started a gathering of religions. i may have converted some orcs today. well after teaching the orc about making bricks we left and ran into some ogres but they seemed like they were headed out talking about a meeting.

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Dinner
Sessions 10 & 11

19 and 20 Rova 4665

The party followed the Bloodfists back to the settlement of Bloodspring.

Martuph was astonished by the absolutely terrible architecture and construction of the infantile orc city. The obvious inexperience, and ignorance of stonework shocked and dismayed him. It troubled him so much that he felt he must do something worried was against his judgement. He would teach orcs how to make things.

Tavius was also disturbed at the quality of the work, but amused at the concept. Had it not been Kromaz who started this city, he might be more accepting. Unfortunately his hatred of the orc and drive for personal vengeance was still nagging at him. He asked Faydra and Faeron if they’d hold his weapons so he wouldn’t be tempted to attack when they met him. Faydra was offended by this. Faeron collected his weapons.

Tesh scryed on Martuph to see what was going on. He also used spells to explain to Faeron the reasons for his departure. He promised to return if the party needed him, but for now he was going to do two things. Research Arazni more thoroughly, and draw her attention towards him, and away from the party for the time being.

Grem followed the party in amusement, and took mental notes of the things he heard from conversations.

The bloodfists brought the party to Kromaz’s building. Once inside, they found Kromaz talking to a few other orcs from another clan. Kromaz stopped his conversation upon seeing Faydra. His first response to her presence was the laughter of one who saw a scheme fulfilled. Then he stood, placed his hands on Faydra’s shoulders, and promptly headbutted her.

Once her head quit spinning, she demanded an explanation of her abandonment in the woods. As she expected, she was abandoned because Kromak, her brother, was born. Males were preferred, and Kromaz was challenged by Barabus for not sacrificing her to the gods, and feeding her to Kromak so that he’d become strong. Zharog reminded Kromaz of times when whelps who showed promise as shamans were left alone to develop their talents. Kromaz agreed, because it seemed less wasteful, and it would piss off Barabus.

Then, Kromaz stood, and said that it was time to feast. Since Faydra had returned with guests, she was responsible for them in the kitchen. He removed his armor, grabbed a bloody butchers apron, and a small cleaver, and ushered her to the back of the building. Faeron with with her, as the others were escorted to where food would be “served”.

The kitchen turned out to be a gladiator pit, Kromaz, Faydra, and Faeron were the entertainment for those in the stands. Several large animals the orcs now captured for food were released into the pit. The trio fought, killed, and quartered the animals, throwing parts to the people in the stands. Martuph and Grem were there to watch and eat the strange ritual of bloodsport and feasting.

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Bloodfists found
Session 9

18 Rova 4665

Tesh’s teleportation meant no one had time to think. Faydra looked about her and found an orc wearing Barabus’s colors to attack. Tavius took aim at the wardrummer’s drums, and tesh saw that the sensor for Arazni’s scrying was still there.

Faydra’s cry of “Long Live Kromaz!” sorted the orcs for herself and Faeron to attack and support. Tavius took out the drum, then began focusing on the drummer. Tesh made himself invisible, and conjured tentacles to waylay orcs indiscriminately. The fighting was quick and furious, but the even the elderly shaman among kromaz’s orcs was powerful. Barabus’s orcs were defeated.

Knowing that Arazni was still scrying, Tesh teleported back to Vigil to draw her attention there. Faydra was frustrated by his disappearance. However, once Martuph and Gremalkin showed, they discussed the situation with the shaman. The rumors of Kromaz’s bloodfists creating a settlement were true. He would lead them there.

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