The party awoke the next morning to find that Diego had disappeared along with his friend Disilphinx. They were worried, but didn’t immediately suspect foul play.
Some of the party went back to the bar from the night before to ask around for information about Diego’s whereabouts.
Darius Nirro followed the paper trail that linked Altruis Whisperwind to the theft of Diego Armando‘s master’s fortune, instead using the funds to bankroll several city construction projects. Oddly enough, there were many underground construction projects that all seemed to lose steam along the way and get cancelled. It seemed that Altruis was constructing a massive secret underground tunnel system in Argent. This, combined with the information that Altruis had made deals importing magical weaponry (according to Balthazar, spelled a conspiracy plot of massive proportions).
Meanwhile, Diego was being held in an underground dungeon. Altruis was using torture to attempt to get Diego to translate his master’s Book of Secrets. Diego refused and Altruis’s methods got more and more severe. Disilphinx was beginning to feel more and more guilty and concerned for his friend Diego’s life.
Darius turned in all of the evidence he had collected to one of the judges on the Argent Council in the hopes that they’d arrest Altruis.
Disilphinx came to the party to confess his kidnapping and offer his help to stage a rescue mission. With the threat that if Disilphinx made any false moves he would be destroyed, they agreed and followed him into the underground network of secret tunnels. Thrilling heroics ensued, and they fought their way into the dungeons where Diego was being held.
Meanwhile, Diego (who had uncovered some secrets from his master Mariz’s book of secrets) was now aware that Mariz was a member of a secret society named The Faithmarked, and had intended to pass down all of his knowledge to Diego. Diego also learned of an opposing secret society named Dark Dawn, which he knew Altruis was a part of. This was why Altruis murdered Mariz and attempted to decipher his book unsuccessfully.
A guard which had been posted at Diego’s door revealed himself to be a part of his master Mariz’s secret society and unchained Diego, giving him access to his equipment and allowing him the chance to escape.
Diego fought his way out and the party fought their way in. Altruis himself appeared and began casting powerful magic in the small corridor. They had to escape.
In the fray, Disilphinx heroically threw himself in front of Diego to save his life, and got blasted by a powerful spell in his place.
The party was able to teleport to the surface, heading toward their airship. Disilphinx was in critical condition.
Altruis followed the party to the surface, mobilizing the city’s guards to arrest all of them for breaking into his house, stealing his property, and attempting to murder him.
As the party was about to be arrested, one of the other Argent judges showed up and had Altruis arrested instead, citing the evidence Darius had collected against him for conspiracy against Argent.
The party completed repairs on their airship in town, restocked, and considered their next destination.
After a hurried and unprepared welcome by the employees, none other than Bane Brisbee showed up to give the heroes the full tour. He showed them all of the aspects of the budding company, and assured them that business was booming.
In the conference room, Darius Nirro confided his long-term goals with Bane. He claimed that the Church of Zyne was becoming increasingly meddlesome, and even had attempted to blow up their Airship. Seeing the nature of the security risk, Bane agreed that something had to be done. Some ideas that were thrown out by Darius were mass espionage and intense litigation to keep them occupied.
After the meeting, Diego Armando decided to take his friends on a tour of Argent. They first visited the grave of Diego’s mentor Mariz, and then the orphanage where Diego spent his first few years of life.
Having seen the Airship come into town, Disilphinx, a childhood friend of Diego’s, knew that he would most likely come to visit the orphanage. He hid in wait at the facility for their arrival.
The group talked about what a dump the orphanage was. Diego was quite surprised, as he was sure that Mariz left a large sum of money to the place upon his death. They asked the matron in charge of the place, and she said the money was never delivered, and was tied up in eternal litigation.
Disilphinx, or “Diesel” as Diego calls him, revealed his presence and greeted Diego with warmth.
Darius and Dreod decided to follow up on the “missing orphanage money” thread at the city records office downtown, while the rest of the party decided to go with Diesel to a bar downtown to catch up.
Team “Orphanage Money” met with a lawyer named Jeff, and discovered that Altruis Whisperwind, one of the 9 Judges of Argent, began the litigation shortly after Mariz’s death. Altruis argued that the will of Mariz was not legitimate, and such a large sum of money shouldn’t be donated to one single orphanage, but should go to the city’s coffers to be distributed amongst many projects. The litigation was at a standstill, and had escalated to the point where the Judges themselves needed to rule on the matter. Without Altruis’s consent, this situation would never be resolved until he has left office.
Team “Beer” had a much less boring time. Diesel and Diego caught up, and Diesel revealed that Altruis Whisperwind was in possession of their master Mariz’s treasured Book of Secrets, his magical journal containing all of his wisdom. This all but confirmed to Diego that Altruis was indeed behind Mariz’s murder. The two plotted to steal the book from Altruis’s Summer Home.
Team “Orphanage Money” met the others at the bar and they each informed the other of what was occurring. They all agreed that they should go to the Summer Home and steal the book.
Balthazar contacted Darius. He said “a little imp told him” that they were intending on breaking into Altruis’s home to steal some items. He said there were some more incriminating documents there which implicated Balthazar in selling illegal magical goods to Altruis, much like the incident in Woodfall with the terrorist cult. Altruis was using the documents as leverage, so Balthazar wanted Darius to take care of the problem and steal them. In exchange, Balthazar would wave the fees associated with the false legislation against the Church of Zyne.
The party posed as friends of Altruis and successfully talked their way past the guards in the house… with a little help from a lot of gold. While Darius occupied the guards with a riveting and profitable game of Elements, the others sneaked into Altruis’s study and stole the Book of Secrets, Balthazar’s documents, and other various incriminating paperwork.
Once back on the Airship, Darius and Balthazar began pouring over the papers looking for evidence against Altruis. Everyone else but Diesel and Diego went to sleep.
Diesel and Diego went to the ship’s kitchen to study the Book and toast to the memory of their mentor Mariz. Diego proved that he could indeed start translating the book. It was magically encrypted, and the lessons Mariz taught Diego as a child served as the “key” to unlock it.
As Diesel and Diego raised a glass to Mariz, Diego started feeling “fuzzy”. To his great shock, Diesel had put a sleeping agent in his drink!
Diego awoke in a dark dungeon, strapped to the wall by magic-nullifying restraints. None other than Altruis Whisperwind himself stepped into the room, with Diesel by his side. Disilphinx had been working with Altruis for years!
The party debriefed Captain Euro Albion and later Azerus about the occurrences in Moil. They also told Azerus about the likeness of Yusha being used in the temple. Azerus was not happy about this.
Azerus pledged to get more help to discover the corruption in the land. He wants to try to get ahead of the game instead of just react to things.
The next night, the party decided to have a party with the Airship crew to celebrate the success of the mission and to raise morale.
Thor Wobblecog revealed that he had made a still in the engine room, and brought his ales and Dwarven Rotgut to the party.
The Eladrin crew members taught the party the gambling game Elements. After a spirited game, Faren Harloen came out on top, much like he did during the tournament in Arkadia.
After the card game, Tsaz Madgut the goblin chef said, “…I got a game…” It was Goblin Surprise. Darius Nirro wound up losing this game, and spent the rest of the night… getting rid of extra contents in his stomach for the rest of the evening.
Diego Armando took a trip up to the deck of the Airship to get some air. He was surprised to see a shadowy figure standing on the bow of the ship, staring off into the distance. Upon closer inspection, he made out the identity of the person. It was Ozymandias Menethil, the wizard who was a member of the Argent League of Explorers along with Darius back in the day. Ozymandias had not been seen since being sent off on a mission by Azerus… a mission which would take him across the rift in the center of the continent.
When Diego called out to Ozymandias, he was clearly confused and startled. He suddenly disappeared into thin air. Inspection of the area revealed footprints and traces of teleportation magic. This was no illusion… Ozzy was clearly there in the flesh.
The next day, the gang received a letter from Anna Maelstrom. She was now living in the newly-discovered Goblin Kingdoms, attempting to learn their culture and language for the Argent League of Explorers. She invited the group to come visit and aid the goblins in some troubles they were having in hopes that they would be able to get the Goblin Kingdom to ally with The Five Kingdoms.
Darius hatched a new scheme of his own. He contacted Balthazar and went over the details. He had documents from the temple they discovered in the Shadowfel, detailing some highly illegal research into poisons and evil magics. Darius hoped Balthazar could use these documents to trump up charges against the Church of Zyne. This would keep them occupied and hopefully get them off of the party’s backs.
Balthazar said it could get expensive, so Darius convinced the party that they should travel down to Argent to visit the Southern headquarters of their company, Paradigm, also known as “Synergistics South”, to free up some money.
And so the Airship set a course for Argent… which was coincidentally the childhood home of Diego. He noted how he hadn’t been back to Argent for about 5 years…
The group makes their way across a disgusting bridge made of bones. The ghosts of the unfortunate souls laid to rest here attacked them unsuccessfully.
Making their way through a winding catacomb structure, the party came to a large ornate room with a huge sepulcher in the center. Runes covered the sepulcher, which was standing open and visibly empty, while the remains of several Shadar-Kai lay strewn about the room.
On closer inspection, this turned out to be the last of the search party sent by Tarnus to investigate the corruption. Darius discovered a journal on the leader of the pack, in which he lamented the incompetence of his team and made one interesting observation… the multiple stone carvings of faces throughout the complex had been none other than Yusha, the hero of ancient days who defeated the Nightmare.
Moving on, the group came to the final door, which opened easily using the keys they found earlier in the dungeon. Behind the door they discovered the source of all the corruption in this foul place, a massive Arcane Engine similar to the one they found in the Garden of Graves in the Feywild. This one was far more complex and would be much more difficult to disable.
The engine was siphoning Shadowfel energy down through a portal in the floor to some unknown location for an unknown purpose.
When Dreod attempted to look through the portal, he was met with some resistance. A magical construct rose from the portal to face the party. The construct bore more than a little resemblance to Yusha!
During an epic and heated battle, Dreod and Darius worked together to disable the Shadow Engine in the room while Diego, Faren, and Izzegio all kept the Yusha construct busy.
Before fully destroying the Engine, Darius gave the construct one final warning… “I will destroy this entire temple if you don’t stop!” The construct’s response was, “Then you die first.” Before he could react, Darius summoned a giant hell hound on top of the Shadow Engine and caused it to break the final bonds holding it together. The entire contraption fell from the sky on top of the Yusha Construct, damaging it a great deal.
The party quickly finished the fight, but soon discovered that Darius’s threat actually held some truth. Without the Shadow Engine, the entire facility was collapsing around them. The party quickly reactivated the portal in the floor and escaped to the Shadowfel above.
After running through the city of Moil toward the portal out of the Shadowfel, the party found themselves face to face with Eliana, who wanted to “recruit” them to Tarnus’s army.
Darius and the gang talked their way out of it, lying and saying they would help Tarnus out in the future without any worries, and recruitment wasn’t necessary.
Once back in the material world, the party signaled for their airship, which soon arrived and lowered its rope ladders down to them. Exhausted, they flopped onto the deck of the ship as it flew off into the sunset.
The party battled the mind-controlled denizens of the Feywild, including some Quickling fey spirits and a couple of swarms of scarabs. It was discovered that Quicklings hate fire, but fire loves Quicklings.
Amongst the rubble in the Quicklings’ lab, Darius discovered notes detailing their research on fungus, mold, and spores in order to develop poisons that would target specific species.
A mithril key was found in one of the cauldrons, with a head in the shape of a multifaceted gem.
Moving down the hall and over a pit trap, the group found an exit portal to return to the Shadowfel.
Trying the next one of the three portals, the group found themselves on the material plane, in an old and abandoned building. Nothing of interest happened here, so they made their way toward the exit portal.
Finally, they tried the one remaining portal. This time, they were sent to a familiar place filled with feelings of despair and loss. They had been here before when they found a similar room in the Garden of Graves, connected to multiple planes. There, they were attacked by grey angelic beings without faces. Confirming their fears, two armor-plated angels stepped forward to attack.
A hard fight ensued, in which Diego was nearly killed with a piercing stare from one of the angels. In the end, our heroes prevailed.
A second mithril key was found, this one with the a head in the shape of a skull.
They made their way to the exit portal and went back to the complex in the Shadowfel.
Having tried all three portals, they made their way back the way they had come from, and then went down a path they hadn’t traveled yet. They came to a carved hallway.
At the end of the hallway stood another of the carved heads that are all over the place in this complex. Again, they couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something familiar about the head carving. A mechanism was discovered inside the open mouth, and Izzegio fought through his fears and inspected it, despite the party’s worries that this was yet another trap.
The mechanism turned out to be a release for a secret door behind the head carving, so they moved on.
They eventually found a large room filled with equipment, weapons, and armor. It appeared that whenever people died in this complex, their belongings make their way into this room through an open portal in the ceiling. Taking advantage of the situation, the group gathered all of the magic items they could find before moving on deeper into the complex.
They came out of the portal into a room with 12 arches with portals in them. In the middle of the room sat a huge stone carving of a human head with an open mouth. In the mouth, a Sphere of Annihilation sat, swallowing anyone who fell through the entrance portal in the ceiling. They managed to avoid it when falling in.
Each of the portals only caused some harmful magical effect on the travelers… old age, narcolepsy, and transformation of their head into a donkey’s head. They eventually gave up on the portals and focused on the head carving. The puzzle was solved, and the sphere of annihilation was dispelled, allowing them to travel down through the mouth into the room below.
They came into a giant welcome hall, filled with tables covered in magical food. The walls were covered in tapestries which depicted the ancient battle with the Nightmare. Shadows attacked them there, and attempted to trap them in the tapestries, which turned out to be magically enchanted. They killed the shadows and burned the tapestries.
Leaving there, they made their way through traps, catacombs, and secret doors to find themselves faced with a dead end, complete with three arches with portals, much like the first room in the temple.
Izzegio of course, never being a fan of caution, decided to forge ahead and walk through one of them. The entire party was sucked into the portal after him, and they found themselves in a familiar place… the Feywild.
Woodfall sorted out and their ship repaired, the group prepared to set out into the wilderness again in search of more corruption caused by the Nightmare.
They were approached by a vampire woman named Iliana, who said she was a servant of the god Tarnus, Lord of the Undead. The group, of course, had differences with Tarnus in the past, as Warren’s father had been transformed into one of his servants long ago, and the party had to take him down. She said she came in peace, so the group decided to hear her out.
She explained that Tarnus had heard of the group’s exploits in the Feywild at the Garden of Graves, how they had found a carefully-constructed temple designed to siphon the energies of the area and corrupt the creatures nearby. She said a similar place had been found in the Shadowfel.
Moil, a city which once belonged to the natural world, was filled with necromancers in ancient days. Their meddling and experimentation led to the entire city being pulled into the Shadowfel, and it has been a great boon to Tarnus and the undead ever since. However, lately the city has had problems. Some of the undead have been corrupted and no longer answer to Tarnus. He feels that another area has been constructed, similar to the Garden of Graves, and the Nightmare is up to no good.
Iliana finished her proposition, that the party continue their investigations into the Nightmare’s intentions, and clear up the corruption in Moil. The party agreed, and she led them to a portal to the city in the Shadowfel. She told them that Tarnus had sent search parties in the past, and they should keep an eye out for them.
They came into the city, crumbling and corrupted from its years in the Shadowfel. They battled corrupted undead in the area, and eventually found some of Tarnus’s search party, dead. Diego used the Sword of Yusha to cast a ritual that allowed him to speak with the dead. They informed him of the location of a portal to the temple, and that more of Tarnus’s servants had outlived them and made their way there.
The group followed the directions of the dead search party, and eventually found the portal. Before they could go in, they had to contend with one of the great horrors of Moil, the infamous Tortured Vestige. This was a mass of souls of the ancient citizens of Moil, turned into ghostly form when the city was plunged into the Shadowfel. Barely surviving, they leaped into the portal.
With the airship damaged, the party hobbled along until they reached the nearest town, which just so happened to be Woodfall, the town where it all began, and the party were known as heroes.
After a night of celebration at their favorite tavern, Diego, the “Deputy Mayor” of Woodfall, thought it best to check in with the Mayor, the Halfling named Huckleberry Smotts.
Huckleberry informed the group that trouble was afoot in Woodfall. The town was now a major trade hub in the South, being the only place with a portal straight to Portland, the gateway to Arkadia. However, dock workers near the portal were being killed at random recently, causing disruptions in the town’s trade. The group agreed to look into it.
Staking out the dock district, the group heard a scream coming from an alley. When they arrived, they found a slain dock worker. It was apparent how he died, since there was a large metallic scorpion construct standing over the body. In a series of motions, the scorpion compacted itself into a small cube and flew up toward the roof of a building nearby. A man stood silhouetted in the moonlight, and caught the cube. Stowing it away on his person, he ran off across the rooftops.
The party took action. Some set up traps along the roofs, while others chased the man into the traps. Darius decided to take a shortcut, and sent a fireball hurtling at the runner, who fell to the streets below.
After some interrogation, the man led the group back to his headquarters, an abandoned warehouse near the dock district.
The group stormed the warehouse, killing several people and their large metal construct guardians. The group appeared to be a gang of religious zealots from Menos, saying the false gods of Arkadia weren’t welcome in the South. What didn’t fit, however, were the metal constructs they were using, which were clearly advanced Arkadian magical technology.
In the fight, a powerful wizard who appeared to be in charge of the group was able to escape. Darius got a glimpse of the teleportation spell that was used, and was able to glean the wizard’s magical signature. Perhaps he could use it to track the man down.
Searching the wizard’s office in the warehouse, Darius discovered some bills of sale implicating Balthazar for selling the Arkadian items to the group of zealots. Balthazar was of course selling products of the company Paradigm, which he and the party all own a stake in. The problem was, these magical items were considered weapons and were banned from trade between Arkadia and the South.
The next day, Balthazar showed up in Darius’s hotel room, explaining himself. He says he did not technically break the law, as he sold the magical items to the clergy of Arn, the god known as the “Sword Hand of War”. From there, the goods were smuggled south in order to stir up trouble between the religious zealots and the rest of the South, hopefully leading to a war. Balthazar claimed that all of this was “none of his business”, and he was only acting in the best interests of the company, and by extension, Darius and his friends.
Darius of course agreed, and they both knew that the local government would need to punish someone for the current situation. Balthazar gave Darius the home address of the wizard in charge, a member of the clergy of Arn. Darius knew what to do from there.
The party stormed the estate of the wizard and brought him to justice. The Mayor and citizenry of Woodfall were grateful to the party for uncovering the source of the killings, and for bringing the perpetrators to justice.
With the Feywild troubles behind them and their airship repaired, our heroes took off into the upper stratus.
Confirming all of Darius’s paranoia, one of the crew members on the airship turned out to be another spy / saboteur for Zyne. He set off a bomb in one of the ship’s engines, catching Tamar Reeve in the explosion and throwing him over the side.
Izzegio jumped overboard after Tamar. Using his Cloak of the Wind, he was able to recover Tamar and fly back up to the ship’s deck. Unfortunately, the Sword of Yusha was dislodged from its scabbard and fell to the ground far below.
The saboteur attempted to jump ship with a parachute, but Warren captured him. The party questioned him… some would say by force. The saboteur confirmed he worked for Zyne and implied Darius did too. Darius lied his way out of trouble again and killed the man.
The airship was lowered to the ground to begin the search for the Sword. It was discovered that Tamar had been killed by the blast, so the group prepared to hold a funeral. Dreod revealed that she could appeal to nature in order to restore life to Tamar. Tamar lived once more, and vowed to take less risks and remain as a guard on the airship.
After searching for a few days, the group found a grotto where the Sword had fallen. Several tree branches had been severed on the way down, so it was easy to spot. However, the Sword was nowhere to be found. Giant footprints belonging to Cyclops were found, leading off into the distance.
The group followed the footprints to a Cyclops settlement. They were a tribal merit-based society, and didn’t want to give up their new prize until the heroes had proven their strength.
Trial 1 consisted of a trek up the mountain to gather feathers from a Roc’s nest. Dreod was able to commune with the animal and convince it to give up some feathers peacefully.
Trial 2 was to go into the dark forest and confront a Beholder living there, chopping off one of its’ many eye stalks and bringing it back. Darius, who was able to speak the Abyssal language, negotiated with the Beholder. He convinced it to join the party and rise up against the cyclops, who were hunting it for sport in their primitive trials of strength.
When the party returned to the Cyclops village, the Beholder began attacking at random. Using this confusion, the party struck at the leader and stole the Sword back. They ran back into the wilderness toward their airship.
The airship was still having its engine repaired from the saboteur’s attack, and could not take off yet. Unfortunately, raven messengers told Dreod that the Cyclops tribes in the area were banding together for a counter-attack.
Using guerrilla tactics, traps, and wits, the group managed to fend off the advances of multiple Cyclops war parties coming toward the airship. The Beholder, who was still alive, also used this opportunity to kill many Cyclops warriors.
Finally, the engines were repaired and the party lived to fight another day, flying off into the sunset.
Following the secret passage, the party comes to a large chamber in the central building. The chamber was very cathedral-like, and had a raised dais. Several cairns were here, and were obviously placed in the room intentionally after the building was constructed. Further into the room, they saw a chamber filled with ivy and other plant life, with skylights opening to allow sunlight in.
After walking around a bit, Izzegio decided to have a closer look at the cairns. To his surprise, all of them burst open and undead eladrin warriors rose to fight them. On the dais, a larger cairn opened to reveal a large undead firbolg, a giant native to the Feywild.
As they began fighting, some of the group noticed motion coming from the plant chamber. The their horror, the ivy became more animated, flooding the room and attempting to restrain and cut the party down with its poisonous thorns.
Tamar used divine magic to pull the Ivy Heart out of the plant chamber, where it was attempting to hide. With an impressive array of magic, arrows, and steel, the party focused fire and quickly burned the Ivy away to nothing, leaving only the zombies to deal with.
Without their remote support, the zombies too fell before the might of our heroes.
Making their way through a giant locked door in the plant chamber, the party came to the final room in the complex – a room filled with twisting runes and an arcane device. Openings in the ceiling allowed the swirling Fey energy overhead to siphon down, being channeled into the device.
In the center of the device, a magical dagger seemed to be slicing through the fabric of reality itself. All of the energy was being funneled through the hole, away to some unknown destination. Darius carefully removed the dagger, sealing the hole and causing the device to power down and crumble.
The magical vortex overhead dissipated, and Dreod sensed that the Feywild was no longer being drained of its energy. However, the damage had been done, and it would be many years before this land returned to its former glory. Dreod decided to travel with the party full-time, searching for the people responsible. Seven was also talked into tagging along with the promise of adventure.
The party left the Garden of Graves and made their way toward the portal in the forest back to the “real” world. Along the way, the Eladrin hunters once again confronted them. This time, they apologized for their initial attitude of isolationism. As an apology, several of the hunters were being sent to become members of the Coalition Expedition Force. They would serve as crew members on the Wyvern airship and warriors to defend it.