With the Incunabulum Primeval securely in hand…
(the Caretaker agreed to let them take it when they revealed the dwarf who sent them for it was none other than High Ancestor Durkik), the party returned to The Stone Anvil via one of the gates in the Chamber of Doors. Before they left, however, they were able to accomplish two things:
- They helped the Caretaker reconsecrate the Temple Between as Mountainroot Temple, enabling him to reseal the gates.
- They convinced the old azer to travel to Bordrin’s Watch to recruit the dwarves garrisoned there to come to the aid of the city which will soon come under siege despite the best efforts of the Watch.
In the tavern now known as The Rock and The Hard Place: The strange shaman known as Raven explained to Heskan that he had been seeing visions in his dreams. These visions told him that only Heskan could aid him in his quest — his quest to find a totem.
Back in Overlook, they were immediately whisked to the High Hall in Caer Overlook. Conducted directly to the War Room, they found themselves in the middle of a Council of War. Two of the councilmembers were missing, but the heroes were asked to stand in for them.
When Heskan protested that the revenant-shaman already had a totem, Raven grew serious, “Zane himself has tasked me with finding the last item of his Tools, the Tools of Zane’s Vengeance. It is a totem, yes. But a gruesome totem indeed. From it depend the eyeballs of Zane’s victims.”
Concentrating at first on the difficulties of countermining and protecting the sewers and the undercity, the party convinced the dwarves to use traps and deadfalls to cover the possibility that the forces besieging Overlook might be able to mine tunnels into the vast labyrinths beneath the hilltop fortress-city. It took a little more diplomacy (mostly on Grigore’s part) to convince the dwarves to prepare to flood the lower areas. It seems they think the cisterns will be more valuable as drinking water in the event of a long siege.
“It is said that the totem demands horrific things from its owner.”
When they heard that the rest of Elsir Vale was being rallied to come to the aid of the city, Zumos was able to use his extensive historical knowledge of sieges in the south to convince them these forces would be better employed in harassing the supply lines of General Zitheruun’s forces.
“Whenever the owner of the Totem of the Severed Eye kills someone,” the revenant wheezed, “they must gouge out the eyes of their victim and use them to replace the eyeballs hanging from the totem.”
Referencing the religious significance of the area, Zumos was also able to suggest a number of improvements to the defensive based on the wars of liberation fought against the giants and the primordials.
“Yuck,” said Heskan. But he noticed the courtesan (who had accompanied the Torrian and the revenant) seemed strangely unmoved by the gruesome description. For a girl, anyway.
Recruiting Aiseki at The Order of the Black Feather’s headquarters, our heroes answered the call of an attack from the air. Seems that General Zithiruun has recruited some immortals to soften up the city for the siege.
Convinced that aiding the Torrian is part of his destiny, Heskan accompanied the small party to the city of Argent and met again with Obanar, the Last Guardian of Argent. Obanar told them of the history of the Torrians. And Raven decided they all needed to sleep in the house where the leader of the Torians (known as their “proctor”) lived while they were in Argent.
Berbalangs were discovered peppering Nine Bells with fire bombs and cavorting in the updrafts caused by the flame. Aiseki immediately demonstrated her value by hurling
poisoned modestly modified throwing stars at the high-flying foes.
While Heskan and Aiseki slept well, in the morning Raven told them he would have to leave. A powerful demon had warned him away in his sleep, so they all returned to Overlook.
Almost immediately, they learned of the berbalang’s most potent weapon: Self-sacrifice.
It so unhinged Grigore to see an immortal demon blow itself up that he took psychic damage. Esterhu took it more in stride. He has seen too many cows walk contentedly to slaughter to be disturbed by such a display.
Now Heskan broods. If it is his destiny to aid the Torrians, why should a foolish shaman’s superstitious fears of demons prevent that destiny?
With Zumos channeling Drake and saving his dailies for some hypothetical “big battle” later in the siege, the heroes were not really surprised to see their new companion bound to the burning rooftops and fling herself upon the berbalang who was spawning more all the time.
And Aiseki is worried for a different reason: She feels this arrogant demon has thwarted her somehow. And demons represent the ultimate kind of prideful evil which should not be abided. Someone needs to put this demon down a peg.
While the leader of the berbalangs was able to deflect much of the damage aimed at him, he was not able to keep his spawnlings alive long enough to do much healing. (He seemed to be able to reabsorb them after he spawned them to heal himself, even if they were greatly diminished by combat.)
Someone named Aiseki. Or maybe Heskan, who seems to think his destiny is tied up in defeating the demon. He seemed as disappointed as she that they were returning without fighting the demon.
Indeed, when Aiseki executed some kind of finishing move on the main immortal, the last remaining spawnling winked out of existence (on this plane, at least) as well. Winked out leaving behind a suit of leather armor.
Aiseki wishes she had a group less frightened than Raven, a group like the heroes who have made her guild famous. As she stands at the front desk in the Order’s headquarters, the group walks up and invites her to join them. It is almost as if they are destined to help her.
The leather seems to be made from some animal alien to this world, but also appears to be the perfect size for a certain hobbit.
The party returned to Caer Overlook. Esterhu managed to secure a place for Aiseki to stay near the High Hall.