Aelphs on the Shelf

Heading Out

chapter starts with party leaving Geskas Andan w/ dharven merchant "fleet" - floated across lake and then took wagons downmountain to another lake to float across that and then go upmountain to A-R

Big Trees, Big City

PCs arrive in Akihito-Remi. The session starts off with few boring days in Akihito-Remi for Maleos and Darias. Saul is poking idly around town, looking at all the plant life and carefully studying any he doesn’t immediately recognize in case it could be useful in herbalism. In the meantime, the second day there, Yoshirou-Mura will separate from the party for a few hours, making the excuse that she has remote family in the area and needs to pay them greetings.

Diplomat Aida

meeting w/ queen; Jotham leaving; meeting w/ guard captain the next day

Queen Keiko-Tama-Sia

While on her own and wandering the city, Aida will see some guards escorting Jotham toward the palace. If she pokes her nose in and reveals her aelphin status, she’ll be able to join him as a representative of sorts for his audience with the queen. She want an audience to ask him about the zwoll that the aelphin have to fend off; they’re been becoming more common over the past few years. The queen at first thinks he might be an emissary from the zwallen lands; when she finds that he isn’t, she inquires if he came across the aelphin emissaries she sent to his people. He’ll explain where he’s been and why he’s not aware of the situation, but Aida will also be able to meet and address her. The queen requests that Jotham travel north with all haste and find what is going on, promising him diplomatic boons if he will agree to help her and arguing that this may help his people as well.

The queen assumes that Aida is there because of Iealdith. She tells Aida that the raids have ceased with the warming season and that she and her kin are obviously at Akihito-Remi at the perfect time to deal with the demon. She apologizes for knowing little about it but says her most recent knowledge is that it headed off into the mountains to the south somewhere. She assumes that the party has some method to track it down since they’ve already come this close.

Conversation Snippet

“Oh, you’re one of the demon-slayers! I have heard of the services you performed for my kin in Kaede. The creature you hunt must have just gone to ground; we’ve not heard from it in weeks now. The last report, I believe, was from a guard-captain who saw it heading off to the south. You’ve obviously perfect timing, since the beast must have hidden out in the mountains for the coming summer.”

Guard Captain

TODO

Darias and the Suits

poking around for library, finding historians and sacred grove; talking way into see queen; meeting w/ guard captain the next day; sees lightning eagle that night

discussion of possible flight spell at dinner night before lightning eagle sighting puts Darias in a brown study, sends him back to his notes to work on things

Ice Demon What Now?

PCs must travel nearly 50-80 miles south and higher up into the mountains (to 7000 ft ASL, much higher than they’ve ever gone before). Cave hidden in mountainside holds demons and dragon. PCs see lightning eagle flying over city to the south, following/leading them! It keeps ahead of them, but not so far ahead that they can’t track and follow it.

Since the travel conditions are so rough, the PCs can barely make 5 miles a day through the mountains, especially in the snowcaps.

Tower Offense

The “ice demons” are encountered at least day or two out from the cave, but no more than 4 days out. The PCs encounter a group of white-scaled snake ladies talking to a tiny, ice-blue, winged demon. They will overhear the following conversation in Equaen.

Conversation Snippet
Female voice: “—garbled conversation—“
Male voice: “—garbled reply, then— worry about those pests who defeated The Purging Fire instead! I’ve heard they’ve been seen in Akihito-Remi within the past few weeks. They must not find the Empress!”
F: “But certainly she—“
M: “Of course, but she has begun preparations for the Master’s plan, and since that fiery fool got himself banished by those gnatlings, she must bear his burden as well! If you hear of or see these creatures, you must stop them. Kill them, misdirect them, it matters not, but keep them away from our Empress Iealdith. She requires a week at least to complete her preparations.”
F: “Can our Iceblood Empress not simply summon more guardians?”
M: “The Purging Fire was the master of the summoning paths; our Empress’s strengths lie elsewhere. Why else do you think I would be bringing this to you? I would not divert your attentions were it not required, changeling!”
F: *hisses* “What can you tell us of them?”
M: “Sadly, little. The Purging Fire fled too late; I found naught but his decapitated corpse presiding over the remains of the Ritual. From then, I’ve heard but brief notes from our agents. However, the Master has warned me that they are not to be trifled with. Hold back nothing if you see them, and pass the same message along to any of your kin you see. And the zwoll and tragn! I care not what you think of them, you WILL pass the message along to them!”
F: *hisses again, more harshly* “Yes, yes, it is required. We will start our search tomorrow. Food first”

fight w/ winged monkey-demon and 3 "changelings" near ruins of old dharven watchtower. bad injuries, but make it through. YM coup-de-grace's last "changeling", leading to argument w/ Darias. Maleos tries a bunch of compass queries during camp that night
YM terrified and adrenaline pounding after combat - led her to burst out instead of biting her tongue. need to have talk w/ Aida re: this during next day or two of travel

Treasures

  1. Aelphin battle sword.
  2. Aelphin leaf-spear x2
  3. Aelphin daggers x2
  4. Coins
    1. L1: none
    2. L2: none
    3. L3: 1,100 aelphin gold pieces
  5. Gems
    1. L1: 5 bloodstones worth 50 gp ea
    2. L2: 3 violet garnets worth 500 gp ea
    3. L3: 1 citrine worth 50 gp
  6. Magical Items
    1. L1: 2 potions: cure light wounds x1 and cat’s grace x1
    2. L2: 3 potions: oil of mage armor x1, puff and gone x1, cure light wounds x1
    3. L3: 1 potion: cure light wounds x1

Raptor Escort

lightning eagle still following party

during walk, Darias comments on Aida's armor - "you need better armor". Aida flips him off and walks off. Saul falls back and has quiet convo w/ Darias about his approach; Maleos listening in and commenting a bit on it as well

Night on ridgeline w/ lightning eagle watching campsite

Demon Battle

PCs find small bowl valley with cavern set into one wall. This is where the fight with the demon-lizard takes place. There are magical alarms strewn throughout the area; once the demon-lizard is alerted to the presence of the PCs, she sends out the demons to harass them.

When the shadowy hellfire-flinging demons come out, the lightning eagle swoops in to challenge them, drawing them off and giving the PCs a clear path to the cavern.

TODO battle with white-scaled demon lizard

Exploring cave, traps, fighting dragon, finding treasure.

The Morning After

TODO YM and the morning after the battle incl leaving the cave and heading back (to Akihito-Remi?)

When first sitting down with Saul to carve up her majesty, Darias will pause a bit and softly say, "Hey, wait a second… You know, I know this… thing?… was raiding caravans, killing aelphs, and probably planning to perform some ritual to summon some horrible monstrosities into this world or somesuch… but it… she… whatever, was clearly a person. Or something close to it. I mean, I'm not exactly sorry we killed her, but we _are_ planning to carve her up and use her parts for armor and other things. I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be okay if someone flayed off our skin and made a coat out of it…"

Saul turns to Darias, pondering for a second. "That is a fair point, and I understand where you're coming from. If you're not comfortable doing this, I believe I can manage."

"You don't have a problem with that? I figure a Pelorian priest would've had an issue with this kind of thing…"

Again, he pauses momentarily as he is wont to do, considering his words. "I understand why you do, but I feel that she *indicating the dragon's corpse* made her choice and set herself against us. In doing so, she chose a path that led to her death at our hands. Now that she is gone, she can serve us and at least partially repent her actions."
"Also, Pelorian?" *he smiles slightly*
"I believe you made some noises long ago that my sigil more resembled the carvings of the aelphin than those of your tribe."

Darias shrugs, gets up, and walks back toward the rest of the group. "It's all yours, but I'd think twice before using those parts for a new coat or something," he says resignedly over his shoulder. "Maybe that some snake lady or some scaley 'emperor' sees it and gets it into their head to rip your face off and make it into a funny hat."

*idly lifts his morningstar while studying it* "I welcome their attempts."


Trouble Sleeping

(This needs to be cleaned up. Maleos begins a dangerous game of picking at something that's been bugging him pretty much since we first met Saul.)

While camping the night after we slew the Ice-Blood Empiress

M: "Saul, I have a question. It might be personal, it might not. Do you… understand… your instinctive reaction to Trolls?"

S: "I don't think it's instinctive_. I don't know _why I know this, but I know that the trolls are.. bad. In a variety of ways. Unnatural."

M: Maleos nods once. "The reason I ask is… I'm seeing a pattern. Twice in my travels, I have met individuals whose unique outlook forced me to seriously reconsider everything I thought I knew about the justification of the use of force. You were one of those people; Jothram was the other. And both of you attacked immediately, mutilated the corpse, and insisted upon burning the bodies so they could not heal." Maleos raises a hand to ask to be allowed to finish if Saul looks like he wants to interrupt here. "Now, I don't question the tactical necessity of your actions, and I'm not judging the morality of them. I simply wish to understand the why of it. There are potential explanations for it that I don't like… We've already seen a creature whose body exuded an aura of fear… And it seemed somewhat out of character for both you and Jothram… so… do you have anything to add?"

S: He considers for a second, then shrugs. "I consider myself to be generally in favor of… live and let live, let us say. However, there are certain times when a creature, even a person, has chosen a path that leads to destruction - specifically, the destruction of others. When that happens, I feel no remorse ending that creature. I am not speaking of creatures who need to eat or creatures who have been frightened but of creatures who have found some sort of inner malevolence and allowed it to take hold over their whole lives.
"I feel that these creatures fall into that category, and thus I do not hesitate to smite them."

M: Maleos nods again. "The thing is… I felt it too, the first time I laid eyes on a Troll. They are… disgusting. Repulsive. Offensive to all senses I've had the misfortune to observe them with. Certainly, they always seemed intent upon attacking first. But… after our encounter with the WormPile… well, imagine if you woke up one morning and everyone in town wanted to kill you on sight. Imagine if it happened with everyone you met, since birth, and only your massive healing kept you alive. I can't rule out the possibility that something like that is an inherent part of the Troll's body. I would LIKE to rule it out, I just don't know how yet."

S: "That seems a fair point. I'm not entirely convinced of it, though. The trolls are large and brutish, yes, but are the zwallen not equally large and imposing? Yet they have managed a society, trade, conversation with other races… if they have, why not the trolls? Even discounting the reaction I have to them that I do not fully understand, I think there is something else at play here, something I just can't remember."

M: Bluff… 17… and yes, that includes a surge, not to react.

S: Okay. Saul seems introspective, trying to remember what he can't, and he doesn't seem to notice anything.

M: I'm going to regret this…
"Hypothetically speaking…"

S: He looks at Maleos again.

M: "Suppose that before you lost your memory, a Troll had killed someone important to you. If you could find the individual troll responsible, and bring *them* to justice, would it be enough? Or would you still hold a grudge against the entire race?"

S: Saul's brow crinkles as he thinks for a long minute. "No… no, that's not it, I'm fairly certain of it. This… I don't think this is about justice. It feels more… basic than that." You can tell he's only sort of half paying attention to you.

M: Maleos chews his lip. "The Aelph Druid I spoke with described that fire dog as 'Unnatural.' While I don't argue with that, did you get the same feeling from it?

S: "Fire…dog… The Purging Fire… It's more than a feeling. I know it was unnatural, it and those creatures it summoned."

M: "Well. Obviously the creatures it summoned were unnatural. They were summoned. I don't think they're even actually *here* all the way. You saw how the bodies disappeared when they fell."

S: "Fair, but I mean more than just that. They have the tinge of that same malevolence."

M: "Okay. Unnatural how. Artificial? Once-natural, now perverted in some manner? Native to another world wholy unlike our own?"

S: "I don't know.. or, more accurately, I know but I can't _remember_." There's a momentary flash of rage behind Saul's eyes, quickly contained. "Have you any insights? Myths and legends from your people, arcane knowledge passed to you from your mentors, anything? I know I know something of it, but every time I reach for the thought, it shimmies away behind a cloak of night. I will remember it eventually, but for now…." shrugs*

M: Sense Motive… 14. Dammit

S: He seems irritated at himself and impatient, though he's trying to bite that back

M: "Hey. Don't blame yourself. All of us, our powers are constrained, and we are slowly awakening to our greater future selves. You'll get there. I do have one creation myth I could tell you. I'm afraid it's extremely vague and mostly metaphorical… I'm still trying to figure out *how* metaphorical… so far, the only seed of truth I can confirm is "demons exist," but… if there's something in there that's meant to be taken literally, it might help you remember something about the nature of our enemies."

S: He turns to listen to you.
You realize that having Saul's full attention on you is a little disconcerting

M: Oh god.
Pelor, specifically.

S: He's just reasonably charismatic

M: I'm going to need to make a Bluff check because he's deliberately vaguing up this legend.

S: Okay

M: 24
Finally some love.

S: Okay, you tell him your version of the story of Farmer Mirle

M: "The world exists in two halves. Hell, and Earth. The first humans originally lived in Hell, beset upon all sides by demons. But through the grace of the Gods, they escaped to the Earth. The gods then sealed the doorway between Hell and Earth. None must ever seek this doorway, lest they invite the demons to invade our world." Maleos pauses, then adds "Please don't tell the others that I told you this. It is tradition not to speak of it, and I don't know how they'd react."

S: Saul stares at you for a long moment, and then says, "All right. I will… let you know should I remember anything."

M: Sense motive?
14

S: He just didn't think that was very helpful, or that there was much to your story.

M: Well, to be fair, there wasn't.

S: And Maleos might find it weird that he's not tired.

M: Yeah probably Maleos volunteered for first watch, had a chat with Saul, then he's like "Uh… Saul?"

S: "Hmm?"

M: *blinks* "When did you realize you no longer needed to sleep?"

S: He thinks about this. "I think it may have been… in Kaede? Possibly…." He looks at Maleos, interested. "Possibly after our battle with The Purging Fire.

M: Maleos taps his pointer finger in the air distractedly, as if in acknowlegement. "Awaken Aida for her watch, but I'm going to stay up for as long as I can. If my condition does not change… I may be like you now.

S: quietly wryly "You mean you might be able to take a hit?"

M: "Oh, we'll be working on THAT, don't you worry. We have the time now!"

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