S05 E02 - A NEW ALIGNMENT

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S05 E02 - A NEW ALIGNMENT

Post  Admin on Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:01 am

[GROWFEST] – Low Summer – Sunday, Wealsun 16, CY586 – Early Morning

During his daily ritual and prayers, Taurinius feels a peace and calmness descend upon him. He realises he has changed with his time in Eternica and he feels a renewed confidence and vigor rise within him. He knows he was supposed to return and he knows his decision to do so was correct.

He reflects on his accomplishments and wellbeing. For a brief moment he feels different, altered slightly by his experiences somehow. He can't quite grasp how the changes have come about.

[review of BAB, saving throws, feats, etc]

Taurinius feels blessed and there is a sense of completeness about him. He feels whole again, ready for the challenges he may face.

Taurinius leaves his private prayer chamber and joins in breakfast with his family and guests. The house servants have prepared a sumptuous meal, consisting of fresh fruit, fresh-baked breads and a selection of delicious wines. Afterwards, he requests that Narcamemnus undertakes to locate the star alignment they have identified and determine if other constellations lies to either side of it. Do those other constellations relate to any deities or gods that may be in opposition to, or in 'pursuit' of, each other he wonders?

Taurinius' parents reiterate their pride in his accomplishments and happiness for Angelia's news and they depart soon after breakfast to attend to matters at the temple and the estate.

[GROWFEST] – Low Summer – Sunday, Wealsun 16, CY586 – Mid Morning

Narcamemnus catches up with Taurinius in the garden courtyard after breakfast and recaps what they know so far of the new prophecy.

“The seed of the Darkest One will thrive on Oerth ...the Hollow Man must give his life ...”

They also talk briefly of the Midnight Eclipse flower which they have learnt originates from the outer planes. Then they turn towards even more serious discussion about the assassin;

“Do you intend to draw the assassin out through subterfuge?” Narcamemnus asks.

“No, I will will draw him out openly ... to confront him directly, as would be most proper ... I will make myself available.”

“Then what do you propose would draw him out? It is a curious thing that you received advance warning, when one would expect an assassin would prefer to have complete surprise. “

“Perhaps the assassin is an evil paladin. Even an evil paladin can have honour. Or perhaps this is just a game to instill fear and anxiety.”

“Have you encountered any assassins or evil paladins before? Might they be responsible?”

“There was an evil paladin who wore demon armour that I pursued once in Bissel ... there was the doppelganger assassin who remains imprisoned by the Syrloch ... and I vaguely recall an attempt on my life many months ago at Buxton's Crossing. There was a poisoned arrow retrieved and stored beneath the temple in a vault. The poison was verified as being Tharizdun's Poison at the time.”

Narcamemnus nods as he too recalls that occasion. “Then perhaps the temple could re investigate that arrow ... it might offer some clue as to who fired it at you?”

Taurinius agrees and uses the sending stone to contact the temple immediately, specifically his mother.

“Taurinius, my what a pleasant surprise, what is the matter?” she says.

“Can you ask Dante if he could investigate ... the arrow with Tharizdun's posion that we hold in the vault.”

“Of course my dear, is there a problem? You seem worried.”

“We are trying to determine the nature of the assassin that has sent the threat and Narcamemnus believes that the assassin has sent a prior warning, perhaps as a matter of respect. This particular assassin is the only one I can recall having encountered to date. There may be a relation, or not. Considering it has Tharizdun's poison it seems pertinent that we investigate this a possible angle.”

“Quite, yes, consider it under action. The temple is very concerned for your well-being and we will make haste on this. Expect an answer within the hour.” she tells him.

“There is another thing .... [Taurinius describes the effect of his prayer]”

“The prayer seems particularly poignant – I would suggest that Heironeous still favours you and regardless of whether you can weild Aurelian or not, you should know that his strength will remain will with you and his blessings will aid you always. Stay strong in your faith. We will contact you.”

“Thank you.”

During that conversation Narcamemnus has been thinking and when Taurinius rejoins him he suggests “when it comes to assassins and guilds, and things like that ... there are all manner of nasty little fraternities and organisations that might claim they hav great power. There are also others that seek to boost their prestige by targeting powerful figures, even if they cannot follow through. “

“Oh no ...” Taurinius thinks.

“... the more I think about it, this could be the handiwork of the 'Hollow Brotherhood' – they are quite different to the Scarlet Brotherhood, in that they are monks who interfere in politics while the 'Hollow Brotherhood' are expert assassins. They are very secretive and do not reveal themselves lightly. They are a global guild who will operate under contract. If there is any linkage with the Scarlet Brotherhood to the Hollow Brotherhood then it could be that they are working under proxy for them.”

“The hollow man must give his life ...” Taurinius echoes the prophecy ... “perhaps he must give his life to the task?”

“That's possible ... but that's almost too literal, too simplistic?” Narcamemnus says.

“Not if the prophecy was written before the Hollow Brotherhood was created.”

“You have a point – as I understand it the prophecy is exactly that, it is ancient and the brotherhood is new in comparison to that. We have only been aware that the Hollow Brotherhood exists for some ten years now. It has probably existed before that, but nobody is saying.”

Narcamemnus informs Taurinius that he has sent word to the Stargazers to see if they can determine more about information about the location of the star alignment and other close star constellations. He also offers to make arrangements with his associates to undertake travel to the outer planes. Reservedly Taurinius agrees, but hopes that it will not come to that for the moment if the threat is close by.

Taurinius contacts Gnaeus ...

Gnaeus greets him as an old friend ... “Ahhh, young master stalwart vigil ... how are you this fine day?”

“Good, yourself?”

“I am an old man.”

“Healthy and full of vitality, I know.”

“It is all relative he says, as is the passing of time. “ Gaeus tells him.

Taurinius informs him about the prophecy and Narcamemnus' suggestion that the threat may have come from the Hollow Brotherhood. “Given that the relation the prophecy is very literal, it might not have been at the time the prophecy was made. Given that an assassin tried to take my life with Tharizdun's poison, could this brotherhood have existed during the time of Taur and Angel?” he asks.

“Every organisation that exists in this day has had its origin in the past. Undoubtedly there would have been a sinister group – we would call them assassins – that operated at the behest of the cruel Suel Imperium's masters ... I will look further into that. I am still researching the star alignment you told me of yesterday ... but what I can say is that feel there is more than one alignment occurring. [Taurinius looks at Narcamemnus as Gnaeus speaks] There are the stars that are something physical we can observe and recognise ... there are the planes ... and then closer to home I sense there are wheels within wheels ... not just political machinations but new alliances are being formed in secret. There have been deals made. I sense the Bringers of the Coming Apocalypse are trying their best to make more bad things happen.”

“Thank you my friend. Gnaeus, if I was to contact you again in say an hour ... would you be willing to repeat what you have just told me? I wish to ensure the temples are informed. I feel they need to know.”

“Certainly, that would be my honour. I can present in person, should you so require.”

“The temple of Heironeous in say two hours?”

“Yes, agreed.” Gnaeus says. “I do look forward to meeting with the Alliance of Good Faiths. It has been a while and I did enjoy our last meeting. I will be there”

“Thank you my friend.”

Taurinius again contacts his mother at the temple.

“Mother, Gnaeus the Seer will visit the temple in two hours with important information could you arrange the representatives of the Alliance of Good Faiths, the Syrloch and the Watchers to be there? I will arrive with Narcamemnus on the griffon.”

“Of course,” she says.

“We are drawing close to identifying the person who fired the arrow.” she tells him.

“Mother, it could be a member of the Hollow Brotherhood. Gnaeus will tell us more. What he has to say is beyond my influence to do anything because it may have political implications. Events are moving as we speak.”

“I understand,” she says. “Arrangements will be made.”

Taurinius informs Angelia that he is going to the city and will be gone for most of the rest of the day. I will return this evening.

“Then be careful while you are gone. We will be safe. “

Four paladins have been assigned to his estate along with ten additional guards from the temple. Taurinius greets them all and thanks them for their duties.


[GROWFEST] – Low Summer – Sunday, Wealsun 16, CY586 – Midday

Taurinius flies to the temple with Narcamenus astride the ever faithful celestial griffon, Lion Eagle. They are a magnificent sight to behold. There are signs of jubilation and excitement on the ground below as he flies overhead, for he has not been seen so publicly for many months. Small children are pointing and waving. Men at arms and soldiers salute as you fly past.

Narcamemnus says smartly “I think you're famous.”
Taurinius waves to the people below but is embarrassed by the attention he is receiving.

After a short flight they arrive at the temple and dismount. Several old friends and comrades greet him warmly as a lost brother and usher him inside to join the gathering. Taurinius maintains his empathic link with the celestial griffon so that it remain aware of his emotions and what he is being told.

Inside the inner sanctuary there is a solemn and grim look on people's faces. Taurinius notices that Gnaeus is not there. His High Eminence Dante Aurelius steps forward and states “We have bad news ... your friend Gnaeus is not with us because he cannot make it. Something terrible has occurred within the past hour ... we have learned his tower has been breached, his shield guardian destroyed, his viewing chamber badly damaged and the interior of his tower razed by magical fire. The seer himself is missing. There is a brazen clue left by the attacker(s) ... a symbol, burnt into the stone floor of the entrance chamber ... one we understand you have recently become familiar with. Our divinations into this will be completed within half an hour. I understand he had important news for us?”

“Yes,” Taurinius imparts, shocked by the unexpected news.

“Then as of this moment we must consider that all of our assembled faiths are under risk of immediate assault by the unseen and unknown enemy. We will enhance our defenses and Magnus Vrianian has been informed of the new developments. There is nothing to suggest that Gnaeus is dead.”

... Taurinius attempts to contact Gnaeus with the sending stone. There is no connection.

“I can only speak from my own experience but we have the arrow, the symbology from Claudellia Galla's realm, the likeness to association with Iuz ... that might be one area we could start looking at. I wish to go to Gnaeus' tower. Narcamemnus, will you join me? He may have left a clue.”

“Of course, but we have no legions that can get airborne to fly in escort with you. We could send advance word to the elves of Celene who may be able to offer an intercept and escort with their skywardens.”

“Send word, but this may be the moment that the assassin chooses to make his attempt. Therefore i will go unescorted.”

“As you wish. But before you go ... know this. We have ascertained the name of the person who fired the arrow at you. That name is 'Cortas Mortain'. We are now trying to locate him with our magic. The Syrloch League of Diviners will also assist in this matter. If he is on Oerth we will find his location, mark my words.”

“Thank you ... at least I have been able to impart the information he provided. I wished for him to tell you in person so you would know the gravity of the infomration from him firsthand. Considering this was a spur of the moment thing, someone seems to have anticipated such a move would be made.”

“Or perhaps someone had already planned this as a part of their strategy to blind us. Gnaeus is a powerful wizard with powerful defences. It must have been either a powerful force or, even more suspiciously, it could have been someone he trusted. We intend to find out -”

A young acolyte steps forward and informs Dante that the divinations have been conducted and the results are being announced to those assembled. He rejoins them and Taurinius attends.

Gnaeus is not on Oerth – he is somewhere in the outer planes but his location has been disguised.
A rogue faction of spell-casters, known only as the “Broken Wands” is responsble. The question remains, why was Gnaeus targeted?

Taurinius says “he was getting close to a complex group of individuals who are beginning to align with each other. Assassins and political powers. He said wheels within wheels, moving. “

Dante turns to Taurinius and says “then embark on your planned investigation as discussed. Go to to his tower and see if you can uncover any more clues, aside from the obvious that has already been found in the ashes. And be on guard. If the assassin lies in wait then this could be its chance. You have our collective blessings in the name of the Alliance of the Good Faiths of Sheldomar Valley.”


Last edited by Admin on Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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S05 E02.1

Post  Admin on Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:48 am

[GROWFEST] – Low Summer – Sunday, Wealsun 16, CY586 – Early Afternoon

Taurinius is curious about Gnaeus' fate and decides that he may have escaped the attack through one of his doorways to another world. He is sure that Gnaeus would not allow himself to be caught unawares.

“Will you come with me?” Taurinius asks Narcamemnus.
“Of course,” Narcamemnus tells him.

They return to the estate to gather supplies quickly. The situation is briefly explained to Angelia.

Taurinius flies with Narcamemnus from Hookhill in Gran March to Gnaeus the Seer's Tower, which is located on the Keoland side of the shared border. It takes him three hours on the celestial griffon. He observes a plume of smoke on the horizon. On arrival he can immediately see the destruction that has been wrought and can sense an overwhelming chaos has enveloped this place.

The griffon wheels and circles in a low pass around the tower. Taurinius can see that two companies of Keoish foot-soldiers (24 men) have assembled and secured a perimeter, but have not dared to draw closer, fearing that some greater magic is at work here. Two priests are with them, warning that the soldiers should keep away “lest the dark magical energies consume them also.”

The griffon lands. The two robed men approach and Taurinius knows they are priests of Pelor. The commanders of each company also advance and salute Taurinius when they recognise his station. He returns the salute and thanks them. He addresses the priest by rank, in respect.

“This happened a few hours ago. Our border guards reported a great fire enveloping the tower, both from within and also descending from all around, from the sky. They did not observe any attackers outside of the tower. We have not gone in, fearing the worst and knowing that the Seer is very powerful. We have never seen him angry but if he has been attacked then he may well have other defenses active at this moment, which we are very wary of.”

Taurinius informs them that he wishes to go inside. “I have been here before and Gnaeus is an old friend. Join me if you wish.”

The priests say “We will pray for your safety but will not accompany you inside. We trust your good friend is not injured, for he is very dear to our kingdom and indeed to the monarchy. You are free to go inside. We will await your return.”

Taurinius thanks them and turns to one of the commanders and says “my celestial companion will require feeding. He offers money ... 10sp ... see if you can arrange purchase for a couple of horses.”

The griffon does look restless and hungry. The commander salutes and says,”as you wish Master Stalwart Vigil, it is my honour.”

Narcamemnus says “This place looks messy. Let's hope all is well inside. I have a bad feeling about this. I hope Gnaeus has survived.”

“Surely, my friend, given your reputation, if you had a tower like this would you not have a way out, given any enemies you may have faced in the past?”

“Of course ... but Gnaeus is an aging man and may not have had the time to prepare his escape on this occasion.”
Taurinius looks to the senior priest ... “My good friend, how long has Gnaeus been here?”

“All my life ... 39 years ... as long as I can remember. Of course, he is older than that and my parents used to tell me stories about him being hundreds of years old when I was just a little boy. His tower is a great landmark and we have always known that if Gnaeus is with us, that good fortunes prevail. Of course, we know he is a magic practitioner but he has never caused this kingdom harm and as such he is viewed among our people with great favour.”

“Know this my friend, Gnaeus has all good people in his heart and wherever he may be those will remain.”

The priest nods understanding.

“Given he may be hundreds of years old, don't you think he has an escape route?”

Taurinius and Narcamemnus head towards the tower,

Taurinius knows that the Syrloch's League of Diviners have already scried the location and have described the initial findings that he expects to see firsthand inside. But there is something that makes him feel uneasy when he sees the badly damaged tower ... he can't quite put his finger on it.

Inside he finds the “pursuit” symbol, as described, melted and deeply etched into the stone of the entrance foyer chamber. It fills the entire floor space. The smashed and melted remains of Gnaeus' shield guardian are evident here also. No evil is detected.

Entering the store room they find a flagstone removed/flung aside, revealing an opening into the ground.

“Narcamemnus ... do you think this indiscriminate or that they might be searching for something?”

Narcamemnus studies the storeroom and thinks for moment ... “I think whoever came through this room did so from underground. I think it is they who flung the flagstone aside to reveal this opening, but they did so to enter rather than to find it. I wonder where that opening leads to as it may tells us where the attackers have come from?”

Taurinius moves to prepare a light spell and Narcamemnus says “Allow me -”
“Wait my friend.” Taurinius stops him. "Are you sure they came from underground?"
“It appears that way to me.”
“UnOerth?”
“No ... my guess is there is a tunnel. A man-made tunnel ... not the deeper places.”
“Then we go upstairs first, before we go down there ...”
“Of course.”

They go to the stairway and see it has been badly damaged with melted, blackened and partially disintegrated stone.

The entire interior of the structure has been razed by a powerful magical fire and it is an effect that Taurinius is familiar with, because he has observed it before. The magical fire rods of ancient Suel. Devices that contain the unspent energy that mimic the magical fire storms that consumed the all powerful ancient Suel Imperium and turned it into the Sea of Dust with the Rain of Colourless Fire.

Cautiously, they move up the stairway with Narcamemnus projecting light from a magical source.

They reach the tower's first floor – Gnaeus' magic laboratories and storerooms have all been destroyed.

Taurinius uses the sending stone to contact Dante Aurelius. “The evidence indicates that the ancient fire rods have been used. Please refer to my previous reports on this. There is a tunnel we are going to follow. However, given the close proximity to Sterich, Clan Wallace is known to have taken a number of these rods via servants of Tharizdun and the Scarlet Brotherhood. This is another angle to investigate. But remember there are many wheels joining together in loose alliances.”

“Good work – I will review your reports – please continue with the investigation. Has you located Gnaeus?” Dante responds.

“No we have not. But there is a tunnel we have not investigated yet. I have seen the pursuit rune, much bigger than I had expected. Clearly left as a message.”

“Then proceed.”

Narcamemnus follows Taurinius to the second level of the tower ... the guest chambers have been burnt and blackened.

They continue to the third level – private chambers and research labs ... these have also been burnt and blackened but in the ashes ... Taurinius sees something glistening amongst the wreckage of Gnaeus' viewing chamber. Investigating further, he uncovers debris and finds a clear crystal shard within the ash and melted stone. He takes it and there is tingling sensation that makes him feel “pulled” upwards.

“Follow me,” Taurinius tells Narcamemnus.

“Boy, this place is seriously wasted. It's going to take some time to rebuild.” Narcamemnus remarks.

“We need to go up, the crystal is directing me. I need you to hold this stone and contact Dante so that he can hear us as we enter the chamber above.”

"Sure."

They reach the fourth level – the world and time viewing chamber – and discover it too has been completely smashed and burnt and blackened. Everything Gnaeus had ever constructed and worked for lay ruined. For a few moments ... nothing happens. Then the crystal flares with bright light ...

A viewing screen materialises in midair and Taurinius observes a moving image of Gnaeus as he must have appeared as the attack breached his tower. There is dust trickling from the ceiling above him and the chamber is shaking behind him. Gnaeus himself looks tired and he is looking at something beyond Taurinius in the displayed vision, before he looks directly at him ... and speaks:

“Taurinius, the Chosen One, most favoured son of Heironeous. I will be brief. If you are watching this it is because I am either deceased or have been taken by force from my tower sanctuary. My studies have drawn me closer to knowing what has happened and what will be. Of the “midnight eclipse” flower, I have seen a place in the Void ... a magnificent city named Union ... it is there that many of our answers may lie.

But nearer to our home there are warriors who have sworn allegiance to those who wield dark magicks and those are sympathisers and descendents of the Jackal Magi from ancient Suel times. They are restless and have vowed to bring an end to the Chosen One's lineage to avenge the destruction of the Darkest One's weeping hexagram. By destroying the source of Heironeous' seed, they believe they will remove any threat they might face in the future when they uncover an alternative means to restore their god to his rightful place on Oerth. They have forged an alliance that spans across many of the enemies we already know and perhaps others we have been unaware of. I have discerned names ... symbols ... sinister linkages ... and now the enemy knows. My investigation has triggered their awareness and they have come to stop me from sharing what I know.

Taurinius, the star alignment is not that of any god but it is precisely where travellers across the Void might find Union. The Syrloch can help you get there.

Of the one who has threatened you, I sense he has observed you before. He is tainted, not completely human and he has a growing obsession with you. He is driven by a dark prophecy and he has been sent by those who desire their vengeance against you. He can travel between the planes.

I am under attack [there is a tremendous shattering sound at this point] and now my attackers are inside. My guardian has been bested ... there is one who leads them ... Cortas Mortain, he is the protege of the one who seeks to do you the gravest harm ... they are coming for me now, swiftly my friend, I feel the end approaches ... go to Sterich and go to Clan Wallace ... you may be able to extract more information about those who oppose you ... [ends at this point]”


“Did you get that Dante ...?”
“Yes ...”

It is at this moment, as Taurinius prepares to move back downstairs, that he suddenly finds himself unable to move and, to Narcamemnus, the effect is as if he has "frozen then fallen" where he stands.

[Vision] Receives visions of three black robed strangers arriving in the tower with scarlet robed warrior monks, unleashing their powerful magic to cause the destruction. At the conclusion of their chaotic rampage he sees another black robed figure, whose face is obscured by a hood and face-mask talking with the magic users. The figure appears to have some kind of deformity with one arm, rather than a human hand there are claws. It instructs the magic users to ensure there are no witnesses and that nothing else remains. “The old man will be travelling with me. I have a special use for him.”

Taurinius realises this is a message from Heironeous.

Narcamemnus is freaked out “are you OK?”
"Yes," Taurinius tells him.
Taurinius informs Dante of the vison and blesses Heironeous – my road must lead Sterich.”
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