Ascended

Journey to the Crystal Forest

1-26-14 Mission 2

We open at the end of the fight with Barron Saarkrith. He has very thoroughly been knocked unconscious and the pirates are tying him up with the help of the gnomes. He will be stored in the ships brig until we can question him. We then head into town where we hear the anguished cries of grief begin to rise. The streets are littered with the bodied of the men, women, and children of the little village of Oak Edge. One in-particular that people have gathered around is what was once a handsome, young human man dressed as a warrior. He now has one of the baron’s tridents lodged in his face. We are told by Harry Theckmore, the town’s mayor, that the young hero was Alkin Finn. Alkin was fated that “Fate would always smile on him”. If ever there was an illustration of fate’s sundering, this would be it. Harry takes the group to a building where they can talk more openly on what has happened and plans to be made. He thanks them, and asks if Aries would be willing to speak at Alkin’s funeral, as the fallen champion would have been honored by this. He then proceeds to ask the group for a favor. Oak Edge is beleaguered by goblin tribes in the surrounding forests, and as their champion and protector is now dead they are left vulnerable to attack. He fears they will soon be wiped out and asks us to find them a new protector. He suggests theStone Wolf who is currently residing in a town only four hours north into the Broken Spear Plains. Juniper is wary of this option as the Stone Wolf has not been an acting champion in over 20 years since a tragic event in his past. He has taken to drinking. She suggests an alternative in the Wood Guard, a champion located nearby in Ignis’s Arm. He is a construct who was created by fate some 40 years ago, and after competing his fate to kill Uthguile the Venomous he decided to protect those in need. The only problem with him is that he is super literal and extremely lawful which could lead to some misunderstandings. We present both options with pros and cons of each and Harry asks that we speak to the Wood Guard on the towns behalf. We agree, but we will stay until after the funeral.
In the meantime, we decide to interrogate the extremely uncooperative merfolk. Ronan heads up the interrogation, attempting to noogie him in submission. Many witty quips are had, but sadly we learn nothing new from him other then that the town was simply an attack of opportunity and the real target was the magically enhanced dwarven blasting power.
During this time Zento has been studying the dwarven powder which has been magically altered to be water-proof. He discovers that he can, with time and a proper lab, probably reproduce this. He takes a sample of the powder and stores it in his nifty magical alchemy crystal. He notices that the barrels all have a magical mark on them. He eventually seeks out June and she tells him that she recolonizes the mark asLady Nothing’s, the ruler of Cassadaga.
The day turns to evening and the funeral comes about. Aries gives a heartfelt and moving speech and the heroes body is put to the flames. Ronan releases his men on the town and the economy is amply stimulated.
In early morning we set out on our quest to find the Wood Guard. We travel through Ignis’s Arm for half a day and on the way run into a very strange creature. Juniper recolonizes this strange creature as “Walks No Roads”. He is a honey-badger-squirrel of a rare race of sentient animal people. He is literally unable to walk on roads due to his fate. He is a menace to the local lumberjacks. He starts out hostile, but is quickly put off balance when Juniper greet him by name in his own language. She quickly defuses the situation and introduces him to the party. He then offers to lead us to the Wood Guard’s clearing. We arrive to find that the Wood Guard has already been charged by eight dryad sisters to protect a bunch of giant baby animals including wolverine pups and pol-kittens, while the sisters make war on the lumberjacks. We decide to then seek out the Stone Wolf. The Stone Wolf (Aka: Eric Grant) is currently located 16 hours north in the Broken Spear Plains in the town of White Stalks. We travel through a wind-storm to get there. Once we arrive we head to the town’s tavern, The Seven Angel’s Taproom. Zento yet again separates and goes exploring by himself. We find the Stone Wolf predictably at the bar and convince him to talk to us. Through a combination of Ronan, Aries and Juniper we alternately shame and convince Eric to help the village of Oak Edge. We agree to meet at the village gates to head back. We all make it there before the Stone Wolf and many in the group believe that the retired hero has lied and will not be coming, Juniper says to have faith. Shortly after he arrives leaping from the stone itself. We travel back on our assorted mounts and arrive at just four in the morning. We awaken a sleepy mayor Harry and introduce him to the Stone Wolf. Everyone appears pleased with the situation, mayor Harry offers the group continued hospitality and says if we return by river he hopes that we see the towns appreciation. We decide to set off in the morning down river towards our original goal of the crystal forest. After another five days of travel down the river, we finally enter the crystal forest and the crystal lake, our destination is nearly in sight. It is very beautiful and everything but the dirt is made of crystal.
(while in route, Zento and one of his psion guards, also question the baron but we get nothing else)
We discuss what to do with the baron, Juniper suggests the Illium and Ronan says we may have to kill him. When we eventually reach Yen-Jassi’s lair, all is silent inside. Juniper appears very worried. We rush in to find Yen-Jassi unconscious and possibly dying. Juniper tries to heal him, but soon discovers it will take far more healing then she can give. She pulls out a tiny white-pearl horn and blows it loudly, the sound echoes in cacophony in the faceted cavern. She then takes out a small cracked hand-mirror and starts shouting in it hurriedly in an odd language. Yen-Jassi is down and his crown is shattered. Only two large pieces are viable, one jammed in the wall, one jammed in the floor. June is uncharacteristically frantic and Zento and Aries attempt to help by looking over Yen-Jassi. Zento looks him over with a healers eye, meanwhile Ronan is looking down the hole in the center of the room. We are interrupted by the approach of heavy footfalls from an unnaturally dark tunnel. The half-ogre Potjack approaches, he is a mercenary and known to be particularly vicious. His fate is “His hands will crush, his feet will stomp, the earth will shutter when comes Potjack. No wall will stop him, no shield will protect from his blows. He will sunder 100,000 souls with his final blow.” Next comes Ace the Snatcher who should be in the Illium. He is fated to “Never be Broken” He kidnapped children from their beds then led a child army against the gates of Praag and was then defeated by Aries. After then came Damblith the Old, the leader of Satan’s Hand who is perpetually shrouded in a cloud of darkness. Lastly Abbadon, a vampiric monk who is a mystery to the majority of the group. They came to take out Yen-Jassi and they were also surprised to see us, wondering how we “beat them here”. It would seem that Damblith hired the rest of the group (except Ace who already worked with Damblith) to get his revenge against Yen-Jassi for something he believes the dragon did in the past.
BATTLE ENSUES!
Potjack is wearing mithral gauntlets, this is odd since he usually goes bear-fisted. The group goes after Potjack first, with Aries soon pealing off to fight his nemesis, Ace. Juniper holds off Damblith with her magic. When Juniper uses her spells to attack the first time, Damblith’s head jerks about and his eyes flash brightly. As the fight progresses we all notice that their fates are sort of working, but they are subdued. Also as wont to happen when an ascended fights another ascended crazy random happenstance occurs, this time in the form of death-lasers. EEEP!
The battle progresses for a while until Potjack is finally overwhelmed and drops. Damblith sounds a retreat and he opens a hole that leads directly to the underdark under the half-ogre and they all follow him down, accompanied by the attacks of the group. As soon as the whole closes behind them Juniper races back to Yen-Jassi who seems no worse for the battle that so recently raged about him. The arch angel Raphael arrives dramatically through one of the holes in the ceiling, and at the behest of the godmother heals the ancient dragon. He says that Yen-Jassi is in a coma and it will probably take him about a week to completely heal all the damage, but he believes that he can wake him up now. Upon waking the group asks if the dragon has any idea what happened. He is horrified by the lack of fate. He suddenly realizes that Damblith had been there and thanks the group for protecting him in his weakened state. There is a cryptic conversation between the godmother and the dragon concerning the evil Damblith. Yen-Jassi says that he isn’t really sure what happened, only that there was an enormous surge of power that blasted through the weaves of fate and that he tried to funnel it into his crown and it in-turn shattered. He believes it was a person who has done this. Someone super-powerful with a vast knowledge of fate. Juniper mentions Zithirid to which Zento has a notable burst of recognition. June then suggests the artifact in the dragon Arcantus’s possession. The conversation takes another turn as Yen-Jassi begins acknowledging his rescuers he asks Aries his he has been since fate was broken, to which the young her says “it sucks”. He greets Zento saying that while they had never formally met he was there at Zento’s birth. He greets hero as well with surprise. We bring up how fate is currently working/not-working. Yen-Jassi says it is like a snowball effect and will only get worse as time goes on. First those with the weaker fates will feel it, then the stronger, then the bound. We theorize who the person could be and that whoever did this either benefits from fate breaking, or isn’t effected by it. Juniper suggests a mysterious “him” as a source. Yen-Jassi offers a list with Satan at the top followed by Zithirid, Pit or Damblith. The group disagrees on Damblith, saying that he appeared just as confused and affected as the rest of us regarding fate.Pazzax the Messenger arrives and gives out two messages. The first is to Aries from Harper, asking him to come and help them with all haste. Only he is needed. The second it to Ronan from his old friend Osire. He is dying and has a secret to tell Ronan. Ronan asks Zento, Juniper and Hero to come with him to help protect the Rogue’s Haven from renegade mages. As the group heads out Juniper stays behind for a private chat with her old friends.

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